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THE FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY JANUARY* FEBRUARY 1984 $150 

INDEPENDENT 



Following the Latin American Story 



Indies find, use and shield sources 
on the frontlines of international conflict 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



INDEPENDENT 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984* VOL. 7, NO. 1 

Publisher: Lawrence Sapadin 

Editor: Kathleen Hulser 

Associate Editors: Susan Linfield, 

ReneeTajima 

Contributing Editors: Bob Brodsky, 

Debra Goldman, Mary Guzzy, Fenton 

Johnson, David Leitner, Wendy Lidell, 

Toni Treadway 

Contributors: Brad Balfour, Deirdre 

Boyle, Andrea Estepa, Luis H. Francia, 

David Keller, Greg Morozumi, Jane 

Northey, Melody Pariser, Anne 

Rosenthal, Arlene Zeichner 

Art Director: Deborah Payne 
Art Assistant: Giannella Garrett 
Advertising: Barbara Spence 
Distributor: DeBoer 
Typesetting: Skeezo 
Printer: Petcap 
• 
The Independent is published 10 times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York NY 10012, a non-profit, tax-exempt 
educational foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of independent video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers, Inc. (AI VF), the national trade associa- 
tion of independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together, FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad rangeof educational and professional ser- 
vices for independents and the general public. 
Publication of The Independent is made possible 
in part with public funds from the New York 
State Council on the Arts and the National En- 
dowment for the Arts, a Federal agency. 

Articles in The Independent are contributed 
by our members and supporters. If you have an 
idea for, or wish to contribute, an article to The 
Independent, contact the editor at the above ad- 
dress. 

All contents are copyright of the authors and 
The Independent except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission from both, and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous ap- 
pearance in The Independent. ISSN 073 1 -5 1 98 . 
©FIVF 1984 



AIVF /FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, Executive 

Director: Wendy lidell. Assistant Director; Isaac Jackson, 
Media Coordinator; Sol Horwiiz, Short Film Showcase Project 
Administrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase Ad- 
ministrative Assistant; Andrea Estepa. Membership Coor- 
dinator; Mary (itt//y. Information Officer. 

AIVF/FIVF HOARD OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, President; 
William Greaves, Vice President; I illian Jimenez, Chair; PeterKinoy, 

Secretary; Matt Clarke, Treasurer; Pearl Dowser; I oni Ding; 
IVniscOhsor: Howard Peiiick; 1 aw rence Sapadin {ex officio); 
Richard Schmiechen; Tom Turlcy. Alternates: Data Birnbaum, 
Yuet-Fung Ho. Barton Weiss. 

A Publication of 

The Foundation for 
Independent Video A Film 

A 

The Association of 

Independent Video & 

Filmmakers 



CONTENTS 



Features 



Barnstorming the South 

A Tale of Two Filmmakets • Renee Tajima 

Clublike Video 

Video and the Late-Night Scene • Atlene Zeichnet 

To the Source in Latin America 

Safety and Sources in a Continent at Wat • Susan Linfield 

Silk Screen's Route 

Asian-American Series Reaches PTV • Luis H. Francia 

Video in the Boroughs 

Is There Art Outside Manhattan?* Renee Tajima 

Columns 



Media Clips • Shakeup at WNYC 

Also: Special Effects & Sacred Cows • Debra Goldman et. al. 

Super-8 

A Practical Grab-bag • Bob Brodsky & Toni Treadway 

Field Reports • Two Video Fests Disappoint 

Video Culture Canada & AFI • Jane Northey & Deirdre Boyle 

Summary of AIVF Minutes 

Festivals • New French Fest 

Also: Cannes, USA, Zagreb • Linfield, Udell, Pariser 

In & Out of Production 

New Column Debuts • Mary Guzzy 

Notices 

Edited by Mary Guzzy 



16 
18 
20 
23 
25 

4 

12 

13 

27 
28 

32 

35 



Cover photo: Fleeing army massacres, Guatemalan peasants emigrate to Mexico in Martin Lucas and 
Nancy Peckenham's "Camino Triste: The Hard Road of Guatemalan Refugees." Photo: Maggie O'Bryan. 



Welcome to 1984! 

Big Brother Is Watching 




The Independent welcomes letters to the 
editors. Send them to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 

New York NY 10012. Letters mar be edited 
for length and clarity. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 



Dollar Drought Compels 
Muni Station to Sell Time 



DEBRA GOLDMAN 

WNYC-TV, New York's municipally licensed 
UHF public television station, was known for 
years to New Yorkers as the channel on which 
you could catch a program missed during its 
first run on WNET. Its second-class PTV 
status, its blowup-prone studio cameras, and 
its spit-and-chickenwire transmitter conspired 
to keep it poor, while its poverty reinforced the 
inadequate status quo. In November, the city 
revealed plans to change all that. The station 
announced that is abandoning non-commer- 
cial status and will begin leasing its airtime to 
commercial programmers. At the same time, 
the station wants to preserve its identity as a 
public service broadcaster, and it intends to re- 
tain four hours of prime time daily for its own, 
strictly non-commercial, use. Maintaining two 
separate editorial environments on the same 
station will be a neat trick, if WNYC can pull it 
off. It all depends on how you define "the 
public interest." 

Peter Low, WNYC manager of program- 
ming, and Rick Siggelkow, manager of TV 
production, believe it can be done. The city 
emphasized that the move was designed to 
make this poor sister among the city's broad- 
cast outlets (reported to be the only municipal- 
ly owned TV and radio station in the country) 
financially self-sufficient for the first time in its 
history. Low and Siggelkow look forward to 



the time when earnings from leasing will sub- 
sidize the production and acquisition of 
original programming. For the last three years, 
WNYC has been struggling to create a viewing 
schedule of its own on a meager budget. New 
York independents, experts at working on slim 
resources, have numbered among their part- 
ners. Now Low and Siggelkow see the oppor- 
tunity to continued these efforts — along with 
their collaborations with indies — but with far 
greater resources. 

The changes at WNYC began in 1980, when 
John Beck, who had a background in Boston 
public radio, became director. At the time, the 
station was still subsisting on PBS leftovers. 
Like every WNYC director since the budget 
crisis of 1975, Beck was under pressure to get 
the station off the city tax rolls. Reasoning that 
WNYC could never attract viewer dollars 
without original programming, Beck offered a 
narrowcasting concept in the public interest: 
the Black Cultural Service. To implement the 
service, he brought in as program director 
Robert Gore, another veteran of WGBH in 
both radio and television. Working with an ac- 
quisition budget that allowed the station to pay 
producers a laughable $7 to $ 1 a minute, Gore 
put together a first-ever, prime time array of 
programming for, by, and about black people. 

The Black Cultural Service aroused con- 




The two faces of WNYC-TV. 



siderable controversy. While many praised its 
mixed bag of gospel shows, independent Films, 
old movies featuring black players and PBS 
standbys like Tony Brown's Journal, others 
found the programming amateurish. "I 
thought it was damned condescending," 
declares one regular WNYC viewer. "They 
didn't seem to realize that a black person is not 
going to jump for joy just because you put 
another black face in front of him." Clearly 
the achievements of the service were limited by 
the pitiful budget with which Gore worked. 
Yet the most crucial failing of black program- 
ming in the eyes of the private foundation 
board which runs the station was that the on- 
air fundraisers for the service did not yield 
what it considered to be a sufficient amount. 

In June, the board gave the Black Cultural 
Service a resounding vote of no confidence 
when Bob Gore was relieved of his post. His 
supporters, many of whom believe that the 
board's enthusiasm for black programming 
never ran very deep, claim that his dismissal 
had racial overtones. As a black dealing with 
an all-white board, one media activist points 
out, "Gore was fighting for black program- 
ming pretty much alone." One indication of 
WNYC's attitude, his friends declare, is that 
when one of his supporters, Reverend Calvin 
Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, threw 
a farewell party for him last spring, no one 
from WNYC was in attendance. Gore's 
replacement, Denise Oliver, ex-head of the 
Black Filmmaker Foundation, which has 
worked closely with WNYC on the service, 
voiced her intention to continue black pro- 
gramming but with greater emphasis on 
"entertainment." Suddenly last November, 
on the eve of the leased-time announcement, 
Oliver's role at the station was terminated. 

WNYC, which at presstime had not named a 
permanent successor, flatly denies these ac- 
tions had racial elements, claiming that "re- 
organization" was the motive. "Look," says 
one sympathetic staffer, "WNYC is a very 
hard place to work. On the one hand, you have 
to dress very straight, and be at work at nine, 
and go to meetings and say things like, 'Yes, I'll 
get on that right away.' On the other hand, 
we're about two steps away from a Pacifica 
station. Their [Oliver and Gore's] problems 
were just administrative ones." Neither Gore 
nor Oliver could be reached for comment. 

The Black Cultural Service did succeed in 
shaking up the repeat-ridden WNYC schedule. 
In the new atmosphere it created, other in- 
dependents have begun to appear on the chan- 
nel. At an AIVF-WNYC forum last fall, pro- 
ducers Wendy Chambers, whose video art 
series Videoville ran for thirteen weeks, and 
Doris Chase of Doris Chase Concepts, spoke 
of the satisfaction of being aired on prime 
time. Yet as executive producer Rick Sig- 
gelkow points out, WNYC could only afford 
to do these shows because Videoville was 
already funded and Doris Chase Concepts was 
well along in the production process before the 
station became involved. Another indepen- 
dently produced series with which Siggelkow 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1934 



THE INDEPENDENT 



was involved, Our Time, a magazine show for 
the gay community, was produced for Channel 
L, the city's cable arm, with money from 
Manhattan's two cable systems. In each case, 
the series subtracted little from the WNYC 
budget. 

The budget constraints which sabotaged the 
Black Cultural Service and limited the par- 
ticipation of indies led Beck to reintroduce the 
notion of leased time, an idea which had been 
kicking around the station since 1977. WNYC 
already had a leasee in Fuji Telecommunica- 
tions Corporation, which currently offers two 
hours of Japanese-language programming 
each morning. With an eye on the PBS ex- 
periments with commercials, Beck drew up a 
proposal for commercial leasing which a year 
later resulted in the city's announcement. 

Beck, however, will not be around to reap 
the benefits of the new arrangement. He left 
WNYC at the end of the year, to be replaced by 
his own predecessor, Mary Perot Nichols. A 
variety of reasons are offered for his exit , rang- 
ing from "burn-out" to the animosity of cer- 
tain board members. In his effort to vitalize the 
station, Beck "encouraged" the retirement of 
many long-time WNYC veterans, an action 
many thought was long overdue, but which in- 
evitably caused bad feeling. Nevertheless, 
Nichols is rejoining a station far different from 
the one she left. 

WNYC has not severed its ties with PBS, 
and hopes to have access to its programming in 
the future. For its part, PBS is taking a "wait 
and see" attitude. In WNYC's request for pro- 
posals, the station declared that service to the 
community would be a factor in its choice of 
leasees. As an illustration of this policy, station 
press spokesman Lloyd Trufelman explains, 
"If a children's programmer offered us $2 mil- 
lion to air ad-supported children's shows, and 
a programmer who wants to show the best of / 
Love Lucy with commercials aimed at house- 
wives offers us $8 million, we'd probably 
choose the children's programmer." Yet the 
contradiction between serving the public in- 
terest and commercial programming, which by 
definition addresses its audience as consumers 
rather than citizens, still stands. Admittedly, 
this does not seem to bother WNET, which is 
reportedly one of the PBS stations gearing up 
for a lobbying fight to preserve its right to air 
commercials. 

Prior to testing the market, WNYC hoped to 
be able to take in $4 to $5 million a year on 
three-year contracts. Until the station knows 
whether the RFP is successful, plans for non- 
commercial prime time remain vague. In the 
meantime, Peter Low invites interested in- 
dependents to call him at the station. Programs 
most likely to catch the eye of the staff are ones 
which relate directly to the concerns and com- 
munity life of New Yorkers. If past experience 
is any guide, the station is likely to favor proj- 
ects somewhat further along than an idea on 
paper. 

And what will happen to the Black Cultural 
Service? WNYC insists that while the black au- 
dience will remain important, black program- 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1934 



ming will be "de-ghettoized." "If you show a 
DCTV tape on Chinatown, and then follow it 
with a black film, is that Chinese programming 
and black programming?" asks Trufelman. 
"No, it's New York City programming. That's 
what we want to do." 

"On-Line " & "Stand-by" Aid 
Hi-Tech Video Access 

Because a great deal of special effects 
technology is extremely expensive, video ar- 
tists have traditionally relied on ingenuity to 
bridge their visions and their budgets. Two 
alternative media organizations in New York, 
Media Alliance and 185 Nassau Corporation, 
are attempting to open up artists' options 
through pilot programs which will give in- 
dependents access to state-of-the-art equip- 
ment at not-for-profit prices. 

On-Line, the Media Alliance project, ar- 
ranges post-production time for artists at 
Reeves Teletape, one of the largest commercial 
video houses in the city. The origins of On- 
Line are a casual conversation between Reeves 
facility manager Bob McDowell and MA di- 
rector Robin White. McDowell, who has in- 
dependently produced some tapes of his own, 
mentioned how much he liked Mary Lucier's 
Ohio at Giverny and was yet more intrigued by 
the credit given to Nexus, a Manhattan post- 
production facility. When he learned that 
Lucier had worked out a deal with Nexus, pay- 
ing much less than commercial rates for use of 
their equipment, he expressed interest in start- 
ing a similar program at Reeves. Media 
Alliance agreed to serve as a screening commit- 
tee for proposals, referring qualified artists 
with non-commercial projects to Reeves for 
scheduling. 

The unique aspect of On-Line, according to 
White, is its educational thrust. Before the ar- 
tist is billed for any time, he or she sits down 
with the Reeves staff to discuss desired effects 
and where they fit into the tape. "The engineer 
and editor then offers the simplest way to 
achieve the effect," White explained. "Many 
of the artists don't know what's involved 
technically in getting what they want . Some ef- 
fects could take too long and be too expensive. 
But they will come away with knowledge that 
will be of great use when they go into pre- 
production on their next project." She adds, 
"They are even given free time to rehearse the 
effects while they 're learning, and it's all free. " 

In December, On-Line expanded its educa- 
tional focus by initiating monthly seminars, 
led by the Reeves staff, covering the ins and 
outs of the state-of-the-art editing room. 
White wants to involve other facilities in the 
program, including an animation-computer 
graphics house. "When commercial profes- 
sionals see the tapes the artist makes on a small 
budget, they are astonished," she says. "The 
program gives them a chance to work on the 
cutting edge of video. It introduces them to 
other kinds of thinking." 

Proposal selection, which, beginning this 
month, will be done by a committee made up of 



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Media Alliance members, uses no aesthetic 
criteria. "We need three things," says White. 
"A written description of the project; a 
specific assessment of what state it is in (differ- 
ent formats? time code? photos, prints, 
film?); and the project funders and budget. 
We then verify that it is a strictly not-for-profit 
project and decide if it's possible, in terms of 
time and money, to do all that the artist wants 
to do. " Once Media Alliance introduces the ar- 
tist to Reeves, its official role is at an end. The 
artist makes the deal with Reeves and pays the 
facility directly. 

Time is booked on an hourly basis, during 
regular business hours, and billed at an average 
80% discount off the rate charged to commer- 
cial clients. Be warned, however, that while 
these reductions are impressive, even a frac- 
tion of commercial rates can add up to a signifi- 
cant amount of money. One noteworthy side 
benefit is that Reeves has arranged for Fuji to 
donate a one-inch master to each of its non- 
profit clients. 

Stand-By, the project of media group 185 
Nassau Corporation, is arranged somewhat 
differently. Artists with non-commercial tapes 
contract directly with 1 85 for a certain number 
of nighttime hours at a CMX post-production 
house (which at this time prefers to remain 
anonymous). "We went to the facility and 
said, 'You're paying for electricity 24 hours a 
day.'" says Alex Roshuk, the organization's 
special projects coordinator. "'Why not let ar- 
tists use those nighttime hours for a special low 
rate? ' " The price that 1 85 negotiated is $45 an 
hour, which buys use of CMX, a Grass Valley 
300 Switcher, three 3 /4 " decks and a single 1 " 
deck. Quantel, ADO, and Vidifont are also 
available; the soup-to-nuts packages run $105 
an hour. 

As the name of the program suggests, the 
availability of the editing room to artists is con- 
tingent on whether the time is needed by a com- 
mercial client paying the full rate. But, Roshuk 
reports, so far only one artist of the 15 that 
have taken advantage of the program has been 
bumped. 

Roshuk hopes Stand-By will become a per- 
manent resource for video independents. 
" Videomakers should really take advantage of 
Stand-By. It is the only way to convince the 
facility and the commercial video community 
that such a thing is really needed. " 



Record Grant Resuscitates 
Indie Cable Channel 

In what is thought to be the largest single 
grant ever given by a private foundation to a 
media project, the John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation announced last fall its 
award of $666,800 to ACSN-The Learning 
Channel, a not-for-profit satellite service in 
Washington DC. The project, dubbed the 
National Library of Media Arts, is in fact more 
dynamic than its staid title suggests . Combined 
with $100,000 from the NEA and $250,000 



from The Learning Channel itself, the money 
will go toward the acquisition and promotion 
of 24 hours of cable programming, consisting 
of film and video art, media about the arts, and 
social documentaries, all produced by inde- 
pendents. 

It has been several years since independents 
began dreaming of a transponder of their own. 
In 1980, NEA's Media Arts Program introduced 
the issue with a pamphlet called Access II: An 
Independent Producer's Handbook of Satel- 
lite Communications. (The original Access, 



GET ACTIVE 

Join an AIVF Committee 

Committee work is the engine that drives 
organizations like AIVF, and gives them power 
beyond their immediate resources. 

AIVF committees have helped forge and im- 
plement policies regarding Advocacy. Member- 
ship. Development and our educational programs. 
Work with your most active colleagues and with 
AlVF's board and staff to achieve our goals 
together. For more information, or to join a com- 
mittee, write or call AIVF, 625 Broadway. 9th 
Floor, NY NY 10012, (212)473-3400. 



written by Nancy Legge, appeared in 1977.) A 
year later, independents from San Francisco, 
Colorado and New York created a project they 
called "Window," an attempt to secure indies 
a place on the cable dial. At the time, however, 
they found they could not even raise the money 
to do market research, let alone lease a spot on 
a satellite. 

Yet even as independents were working in 
vain on their own collective effort, Brian 
O'Doherty, NEA's Media Arts director and 
the force behind Access II, was considering 
ways in which the NEA, on behalf of in- 
dependents, might lead the way toward use of 
the new technologies. After winning support 
within the NEA, he approached ACSN-The 
Learning Channel in Washington DC. As its 
hyphenated name suggests, ACSN-The Learn- 
ing Channel leads something of a double life. 
As Appalachian Community Service Net- 
work, it is a satellite veteran from the eany 
seventies (years before there were any commer- 
cial birds circling the planet). Funded by the 
Department of Education, ACSN created edu- 
cational programming which it bounced to 
Appalachian school systems off a transponder 
supplied by NASA. When cable systems began 
gearing up to receive signals from commercial 
satellites after 1975, ACSN initiated an at- 
tempt to become cable's answer to PBS. In 
1980, it set itself up as a private, not-for-profit 
educational programming service, which now 
markets itself to the cable industry as The 
Learning Channel, or TLC. 

O'Doherty chose TLC after looking into 
several cable services. It was attractive, he 
claims, because it was not-for-profit, it offered 
a national footprint from its transponder on 
Satcom III-R, and it was eager to take on the 



project. Yet in other ways, it was an odd 
choice. O'Doherty was aware that no one at 
TLC was at all familiar with independent 
work. He even arranged screenings for the 
TLC staff at the NEA to introduce them to 
what independent media was all about. They 
were ignorant despite many attempts by Ap- 
palachian independents to convince the chan- 
nel to show their work. To the eye of regional 
mediamakers, a lot of money was poured into 
the service with little visible result. Never- 
theless the Media Arts Program gave TLC an 
award grant of $100,000 in 1980. 

In an effort to raise the credibility of the 
project, O'Doherty wanted to bring in "some- 
one with the full confidence of the independent 
community." In 1982, after delays in the proj- 
ect caused in part by personnel changes at 
TLC, he introduced the organization to Gerry 
O'Grady, director of Media Study/Buffalo. 
O'Grady enthusiastically agreed to select 
materials for the series and serve as executive 
producer, although all felt that $100,000 was 
not much to work with. Rather than produce 
the four hours of programming these funds 
would buy, they widened their money search. 
It was Virgil Grillo, then O'Doherty's assistant 
at NEA, who informed TLC that Chicago's 
well-heeled MacArthur Foundation wanted to 
get into media funding and arranged an in- 
troduction. The six-figure grant that resulted 
represents MacArthur's dramatic first plunge 
into the field. 

O'Grady wants to divide the programming 
into two 12-hour series. The first is Dis /pat- 
ches, which O'Grady describes as a compila- 
tion of individual works "patched" together in 
a 60-minute format. In each program of 
Dis /patches, slated to debut in the fall of 1984, 
a half-hour documentary on one of the arts will 
be surrounded by fifteen minutes of film and 
video art on either end. Agenda, slated for 
January 1985, will present a series of 12 social 
issue -documentaries from all regions of the 
country. O'Grady himself will write and select 
resources for the "interstitial" material, 
"highly visual" segments which will contex- 
tualize the works presented. This will be pro- 
duced by Chiz Schultz, a PTV veteran and an 
independent filmmaker with his own NEA and 
NEH track record. 

TLC's distribution plans call for three levels 
of exposure. The first will be on TLC cable af- 
filiates, which, by next fall, should deliver 
seven million subscribers. Next it will be of- 
fered as a "stand-alone" (i.e. not part of a 
regular programming service) to non-affili- 
ated systems in the top 100 markets. Finally, 
public television stations in non-cabled mar- 
kets only will have their turn. Media 
Study/Buffalo, which will contract on TLC's 
behalf, will pay mediamakers $210 a minute 
under a four-showing, three-year non- 
exclusive agreement. 

In addition, producers are hoping to become 
involved in secondary distribution of the 
series. There is talk of cassette or disk sales, 
available by phone through a number to be 
flashed at the end of each program, as well as 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



non-theatrical rentals. "The producers I've 
spoken to about this are very enthusiastic," 
O'Grady relates, "as long as we're prepared to 
pursue secondary distribution aggressively." 
These rights will be negotiable separately. 

Indeed, it's heavy duty sophisticated pro- 
motion that distinguishes the National Library 
of Media Arts from other indie ventures on the 
tube. TLC is launching a direct mail campaign 
aimed at 25,000 cable systems and institutions 
in an attempt to generate interest in the series, 
to be followed by phone calls and a second 
mailing. The service will also distribute a 
printed program for each show, written by 
O'Grady, with artist interviews, filmographies 
and background. The key is that TLC is not on- 
ly promoting independents, but itself as well. 
Rob Shuman, TLC's executive vice president, 
has expressed hope that independent program- 
ming (and MacArthur funding) will become a 
long-term feature of .the channel. 

Satellite access for independent artists is "in 
its very early stages and it's very fragile," says 
O'Doherty. While the future of the enterprise 
as a whole remains uncertain, the one organ- 
ization sure to immediately benefit is Media 
Study/Buffalo. O'Grady and the staff, in- 
cluding John Minkowski, Bruce Jenkins and 
Lynn Corcoran, who will be selecting the 
material, are now arbiters of a project of na- 
tional significance for the entire independent 
community. O'Grady wants the programing 
to be drawn from the broadest constituency 
possible, both in terms of aesthetics and 
geography. Indies will have to rely on his judg- 
ment, since, thanks to the structure of theproj- 
ect, he is in no way directly accountable to the 
community. 

Yet even in the midst of our enthusiasm for 
the kind of opportunities this project offers, it 
is sobering to think that it took a small group of 
well-connected men to accomplish what a col- 
lective of independents could not do on their 
own. As O'Grady says, "This is really Brian 
[O'Dohertyj's concept." However, the power 
the NEA wields, for good and ill, over the in- 
dependent media community is hardly news. 
Certainly the timing of the project is impor- 
tant; today, "Window" advocates willingly 
admit an indie cable channel was probably 
premature in 1981. Indies may yet have their 
transponder in the sky. 

Although no application deadline was set at 
press time, proposals will probably be ac- 
cepted until the end of March. For more up-to- 
date information, contact Gerry O'Grady at 
Media Study/Buffalo, 207 Delaware Ave., 
Buffalo, NY 14202, (716) 847-2555. 

Grenada— from Indie to Nets: 
A Success Story with Tears 

Four years ago Joanne Kelley and Skip 
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Caribbean island which the Carter Ad- 
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blockade, and which the newly elected Reagan 
later ranked as an emerging socialist threat in 
America's own backyard. "We got turned 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



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down right and left," Sweeney said of their 
search for funding for the project. 

On October 14, 1983, filmmakers Carmen 
Ashurst and John Douglas completed the 
documentary Grenada: The Future Coming 
Towards Us. That day Grenada's Prime Mini- 
ster Maurice Bishop was arrested by members 
of his own New Jewel Movement and by the 
month's end, Bishop was dead, the People's 
Revolutionary Government (PRG) had fallen 
and the US Marines were on Grand Anse 
Beach. 

What followed was, as Sweeney put it, "a 
success story with tears" for Grenada: Portrait 
of a Revolution. The Grenada footage became 
a hot commodity with networks willing to pay 
decent prices — although the sales came regret- 
tably as a result of the turmoil on the island. 

After Bishop was killed, footage from the 
film and the tape were sold to PBS' MacNeil/ 
Lehrer Newshour at standard rates. Kelly and 
Sweeney were contacted by a friend at the San 
Francisco CBS affiliate who arranged a sale to 
CBS national. Unsure of what to charge, Kelly 
asked for a $600 flat fee plus $100 per minute. 
After the invasion CBS wanted more footage, 
and Kelly and Sweeney's contact volunteered 
to negotiate the price for them — bringing it up 
to a $2,000 guaranteed flat fee plus $1,000 per 
minute, for a total of two minutes and 15 sec- 
onds. CBS also gave Video Free America, Kel- 
ly and Sweeney's non-profit media center, an 
over-the-air credit on the Nightly News and a 
following special. Meanwhile, the pair sold 
footage to WPIX in New York and to a local 
ABC affiliate which reedited a 10-minute 
piece. 

Ashurst and Douglas were initially contact- 
ed about their film footage by Rick O'Regan 
from ABC's 20/20, who they met while search- 
ing 20/20's library for stock footage on 
Grenada. Ashurst was able to negotiate a stan- 
dard $ 1 ,000 per minute rate from the network . 
Footage from the film was also sold to Gil No- 
ble of WABC's Like It Is program, the Cana- 
dian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and 
Japan's NHK as well as the MacNeil /Lehrer 
Newshour. Ashurst sold additional footage to 
MacNeil '/Lehrer Tor Filmmaker Larry Bullard, 
who shot Maurice Bishop's speech at Hunter 
College last year. 

It is no surprise that independent producers 
would have been First on the scene in what ul- 
timately became a political "hot spot." Jon 
Alpert, Keiko Tsuno, Tom Sigel, Pam Yates, 
Glenn Silber and others have been among the 
scores of independents who have brought news 
of developments in Vietnam, El Salvador, and 
other places around the world to the public's 
attention far before and with far more depth 
than the networks. Kelly calls the networks 
"parachute journalists who drop in, shoot 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



something and fly back out," while in- 
dependents tend to look for analysis and 
depth. Kelly has followed the events in the 
Caribbean steadily since 1978, and she and 
Sweeney shot hours of video to produce the 
30-minute tape. Ashurst spent two years in 
Grenada after the 1979 revolution, supervising 
the development of the island's own media 
system. 

The producers, being intimately versed in 
the country's history, were naturally frustrat- 
ed by the way the networks treated the story, s 
Ashurst expressed disappointment that while <| 
the producers at MacNeil/Lehrer and ABC | 
were sympathetic and wanted to get at the real <5 
story in Grenada, the final treatments were 
shallow and generally followed the US govern- 
ment line. 

"When the story first broke, Bishop was 
under house arrest, and MacNeil/LehrerXxtdX- 
ed that almost as a joke," Kelly recalls. "They 
billed it as a power struggle in a little country, 
and used it as an end piece." Kelly unsuc- 
cessfully tried to get the program to look 
deeper into the issues and at the stronger 
material, but was ignored. But when the inva- 
sion occurred, MacNeil/Lehrer called back, 
"Uh, remember that footage you told us 
about?. . .Can we take another look at it?" 
Ironically, Kelley and Sweeney's proposal to 
CPB for funding for the project came up 
before a panel at that same time. But according 
to Sweeney, "The invasion occurred while the 
panel was meeting, so they decided that the 
material was not relevant anymore and turned 
it down." 

The producers are, of course, more in- 
terested in getting their work on the air in its en- 
tirety. Grenada: The Future Coming Towards 
Us is being considered by Gail Christian, news 
director at PBS, for national broadcast. 
Various European television stations were in- 
terested in broadcast rights and according to 
Douglas, "they have been the most supportive 
all the way along." CNN will show clips in- 
cluding the original narration in 5-10 minute 
in-depth news analysis spots. 

The San Francisco PBS affiliate KQED was 
the first to show Video Free America's 
tape — in May of 1983— and had previously 
provided post-production facilities. The inva- 
sion happened to occur around the time of 
PBS' Program Fair, and KQED lent a hand in 
hustling the tape to program directors, manag- 
ing to arrange a national feed through the In- 
terregional Program Service. Portrait of a 
Revolution is also being considered for pur- 
chase by European television. 

As Grenada slowly disappears from the 
nightly news, the producers will continue to 
distribute their pieces and, undoubtedly, will 
continue to remain on top of or involved in the 
events in Grenada. Kelly recalls a post- 
invasion conversation with a reporter from 
WPIX: "The reporter told me, 'I've just got- 
ten back from Grenada — I've been there for 10 
days. '" Kelly says she asked him if he had inter- 
viewed Radix and Louison. "And he asked 
me, 'Who are they?' I couldn't believe he 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



hadn't talked to them." Radix and Louison 
are the only two surviving members of the 
Bishop government and are likely to figure 
prominently in future developments there. 
And so it goes. — ReneeTajima 

Skeptical Programmers 
Endanger "Sacred Cows" 

Michael Mears' No Sacred Cows series, 
which was to begin bringing complete freedom 




Prostitutes' organizer Margo St. James in Hard Work, 
originally slated for airing on No Sacred Cows. 

of expression to the PTV airwaves in February, 
1984, has been pulled from the PBS spring 
schedule pending further review. CPB and 
PBS had initially backed Mears' plan to broad- 
cast films that would not otherwise make it to 
the small screen because of biased viewpoints, 
unpopular subject matter or "obscene" con- 
tent (i.e. nudity and dirty language). But a less 
than enthusiastic response from local PBS pro- 
grammers at their November Program Fair 
resulted in Co wsbeing sent back to the drawing 
board. 

According to Mears, a "lack of awareness" 
on the part of the programmers was the main 
reason for their objections to the show. 
Although they had heard about the series, they 
had not yet seen any of the programs and were 
shocked to find that PBS had already assigned 
it to a primetime slot . Barry Chase of the PBS 
Public Affairs division agreed that the 
programmers' criticisms were generally not 
directed at the concept of the show (an op ed 
page for PBS) but rather at specifics of how it 
was being developed. For instance: is nudity 
still a sacred cow that demands knocking? 
And, even if it is, do shows primarily notable 
for the fact that they contain it belong in the 
same series as shows that present minority 
points of view on social issues? Also: can PTV 
really claim that Cows will widen the range of 
discourse in the mass media when no funds 
have been allocated for the production of new 
works? Will only those points of view with 
money behind them get on the air? 

These are criticisms that Mears can address 
without completely violating his original in- 



tent: first, by narrowing the focus of the series, 
and second, by making sure that at least as 
many truly independent films are scheduled as 
works commissioned by groups like the Na- 
tional Rifle Association. 

The inclusion of indie productions was part 
of both Mears' and CPB's original vision. The 
proposal for the series was a bone tossed to 
starving indies at last April's controversial 
"Independent Documentary" conference in 
Washington DC (co-sponsored by CPB and 
the American Film Institute). In one of the 
conference's most heated discussions, PBS 
staff people accused independent documen- 
tarians of not meeting "journalistic 
standards" and indies responded saying that it 
was the PBS definition of journalistic stan- 
dards that was flawed, not the films. The pro- 
posal for Cows called the question by stating 
that only works that strongly advocated a par- 
ticular position, even to the point of blatant 
propaganda, would be considered. But the 
program mix indicates that op ed is not being 
defined as time for the airing of controversial 
opinions but time for airing controversial pro- 
grams whether they include a minority view- 
point or just some obscenities — in short, pro- 
grams whose contents the stations are not go- 
ing to want to vouch for, whatever their sub- 
ject matter. 

Although Cows was not intended to be an in- 
die vehicle per se, a New York indie who ap- 
proached PBS about airing her documentary 
on a touchy political subject was advised to 
submit it to Mears. She said she heard from a 
number of other indie documentarians that 
they'd been told the same thing: "PBS seemed 
to be saying, 'Here's your slot,' even though 
the focus of the series was not on independent 
filmmaking, but films with shock value." 

Some indies are no more wild about the mix 
of programs that Mears has proposed (perhaps 
a show featuring Monty Python's John Cleese 
in the raw to be followed by an indie doc on 
Central America?) than are the PBS program- 
mers. Others are willing to take national ex- 
posure where they can get it. AsGinny Durrin, 
whose Hard Work (a documentary on pros- 
titution) caught Mears' eye, put it, "There is 
such a homogenization of point of view that we 
should do anything we can to increase the 
variety of expression. While I might feel a tad 
ghettoized, the most important thing right now 
is getting on the air." 

At press time, meetings between Mears, 
CPB and PBS staff people and representatives 
of the Program Advisory Committee had been 
scheduled to formulate a mutually acceptable 
format for Cows. Mears said he is willing to 
make changes as long as the basic free speech 
concept remains intact. 

Indies whose work was being considered for 
inclusion in the Cows series are keeping their 
fingers crossed, because if Cows is scrapped, 
they doubt they'll get on the air at all. It's a sad 
comment on the indie/PBS airtime situation 
that producers feel regret over thelossof such a 
dubious program slot. 

— Andrea Estcpu 



THE INDEPENDENT 




The Japanese went wild for South Bronx rappers in Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style. 



Japanese Groove to 
"Wild Style" Funk 

When director Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style 
was opened in Japan by Daiei International 
during early October, it hadn't even seen 
release in its home turf of New York City. After 
a two-week blitz of performances, special pro- 
motions, publicity and public appearances by 
members of its cast and Ahearn — all backed by 
its distributor — Japan, or at least Tokyo, had 
been transformed into a seeming extension of 
the South Bronx. Although the environment 
of Wild Style — the rap-breaker-funk-graffiti 
world of the black and Puerto Rican denizens 
of the inner city ghettos — might seem about as 
remote to Tokyo's gleaming modernity as a 
Noh troupe would be on 125th Street, the 
Japanese's hunger for pop culture led them to 
eat up all the merchandise — t -shirts, an audio 
cassette book, picture magazines, posters — as 
well as pack the halls and clubs where the 
Wildstylers performed. 

All this special effort to promote a film 
which might in other places seem marginal was 
a result of the combined efforts of Ahearn and 
Daiei associate Kaz Kazui. Says Kazui, who 
was hired to orchestrate the Japanese promo- 
tion of Wild Style: "The Daiei people had just 
been distributing German-language films in 
Japan but I asked them about American films. 
Wild Style seemed perfect for Japan because 
Japanese young people hunger for emotional 
outlets for their expression and this movie is 
packed with them. " Because this was a big step 
for Daiei, a company recently resurrected 
from bankruptcy but now backed by the 
Tokuma publishing company, Kazui conveni- 
ently enlisted the aid of the Seibu department 



.store (the largest in Japan) which had been 
planning a New York fair close to the time of 
the Wild Style release. Together with the 
Hakuhodo advertising agency, the three join- 
ed forces to promote the film and the perform- 
ing crew of 20 people. 

"The reaction was great, even more than we 
expected," says Kazui. "We opened in Oct- 
ober in the Shinjuku Toei Hall which seats 300. 
On our first day we drew 800 people, over the 
weekend we averaged 1,000 a day. Normally 
the place attracts about 200, 250 a day." Cer- 
tainly much of this success is due to the two 
weeks performers from the film such as Busy 
Bee, Double Trouble, Fab Five Freddie, The 
Rock Steady Crew, Afrika Islam, the Cold 
Crush Brothers and DJ Charlie Chase spent 
not only performing during Seibu's weeklong 
New York Fair but also at the Fuji-Sankei 
Sports Fair, Tsubaki Disco House, Pittecan 
Thropus Club, The Bee and Neo-Japonesque. 
Such performances stimulated not only au- 
dience numbers but also the sale of merchand- 
izing materials (apparently a necessity for any 
release in Japan, where people really go for 
such things). 

With a film like Wild Style, the dialogue and 
the story line might have hindered audience 
comprehension, but a group of several regular 
translators as well as Kazui and special 
translator Peter Barakan (with Ahearn and 
Fab Five Freddie's help) transformed the street 
lingo into ordinary English then Japanese. As 
a result, the press gave its full support as well. 
Articles appeared in major magazines (Brutus, 
Popeye, Cosmopolitan Japan, Young Jump, 
Fashion News, Heibun Punch) as well as major 
dailies and weeklies. Television appearances 
included The Tamori show (Japan's number 



10 



one comedian), NHK, 11pm, and several 
morning interview programs. Radio and 
regional press followed suit . D J Chase even did 
a special radio appearance as well, scratch mix- 
ing Japanese music and rap. 

The only negative aspect to the whole event 
was in the regional follow-through. According 
to Kazui, he informed the Daiei people to 
spend the same promo money (about $40,000) 
on release in the nine other cities the film was 
released in, or else hold off release until reac- 
tion had built up in Tokyo. Instead, they 
released it in the ten cities simultaneously and 
as a result fared moderately in the other cities. 

Nonetheless, the positive reaction in Japan 
has built up Ahearn's confidence for US 
release. And because of Kazui's success with 
this independent film, Daiei is supporting his 
efforts toward an independent New York film- 
maker's festival in Japan next year. 

Wild Style is distributed by First Run 
Features in the US and will be playing in 
Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and other cities 
in 1 984, if all goes well. — Brad Balfour 

There's No Place Like Home 
For Video Art on Va" 

One wintry day last November Steve Aget- 
stein, director of the San Francisco Video 
Festival and publisher of Send Video magazine 
(a.k.a. Video 80s) breezed into the AIVF of- 
fices with an exuberant look on his face. He 
had just come from New Video, a small home 
video store located in SoHo, and he was happy 
because the retailer had just agreed to stock his 
newest venture: home video cassettes of art- 
ists' work. 

Agetstein refers to the project as "video 
publishing" for artists, and figures he can sell 
1,000 of anything— 1,000 being the "print 
run" for his limited editions of each of three 
different works, selected from the last SF 
Video Fest. The video enthusiast stresses that 
the professional dubs and snazzy cover design 
of the Vi " tapes should allow them a fair shake 
in the razzle-dazzle home video market. When 
he opened his briefcase, we saw what he meant : 
the three gray and black wrapped tapes looked 
like spiffy versions of what you might find on 
the shelf of a tape emporium. 

The first three tapes in the new venture, called 
Send Video Arts, are Smothering Dreams by 
Dan Reeves, Ellis Island by Meredith Monk, 
and Allan 'n 'Allen 's Complaint by Nam June 
Paik. Why these three? Each is by a well- 
known artist and already has a considerable 
reputation and each, by the standards of video 
art, is a long work — from 22 minutes to 30 
minutes. In addition to piggybacking on the 
reknown of the artist, Agetstein is plotting 
other strategies. One he tried out on me was: 
"Every Jewish attorney should buy his grand- 
ma a copy of Ellis Island. " 

The terms of the business deal have been 
evolving since the project was conceived a year 
ago as a spin-off from the SF Video Festival. 
Agetstein and his co-worker Wendy Garfield 
found an investor who could handle the costs 
of mastering and cover design. In return, the 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 




"AATON 

ACTUALLY MADE 

ME SHOOT BETTER." 

Robert Elfstrom 
What's extraordinary 
about this hand-built, 
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camera is what it adds to 
your artistic and profes- 
sional capabilities. And 
that the Aaton LTR also 
gives you Super 16MM. 

"AATON BECOMES PART 

OF YOUR BODY, PART OF 

YOUR VISION." 

Haskell Wexler 
Aaton s perfect balance 
lightness, and maneuver- 
ability, the way it drapes 
effortlessly over the 
shoulder makes it the 
first camera designed from 
your ROY. 

The LTR viewing 
screen is the biggest and 
brightest because Aaton 
developed a special con- 
cave fiber optic device to 
make it that way. Aaton's 
rock steady registration, 
back focus stability 
(to within 5 microns) and 
vertical accuracy (to 
1 /2000th of a frame) cap- 
ture all that sharpness on 
film. Aaton features a 
6 to 54 fps variable frame 



rate and an optional built- 
in video tap. 

"MY AATON IS SO QUIET, 

I CAN SHOOT IN A 

CONFESSION BOOTH." 

Albert Maysles 
With its brushless 
motor, gear drive power 
transmission and patented 
posi-claw movement, the 
LTR is quiet by design. 
The rigid internal chassis 
isolates and dampens 
shock, and the film trans- 
port is vibration-free. 

"I'VE TAKEN MY AATON 

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PERU TO THE ARCTIC AND 

NEVER HAD A PROBLEM." 

Pierre de Lespinois 
Aatons have logged 
millions of film and land 
miles. And they've been 
dropped down mountains, 
dunked in oceans, buried 
in deserts— and worked. 
That's because the mech- 
anical and optical parts 
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from the outer shell. 
And because its modular 
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the electronics or even 



the motor, by yourself, in 
just minutes. 

"IT'S AMAZING HOW WELL 

SUPER 16MM COMPARES 

WITH35MM." 

American Cinematographer 
People like Robert 
Altman, Haskell Wexler, 
Ed Lachman and Robert 
Elfstrom shot features 
and documentaries with 
Aaton because Super 16 
makes good sense. So if 
you have to choose one 
camera, it makes sense to 
choose the one that's two. 
Aaton LTR. 
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AATON CTR SAVED MY LIFE." 
Tom Sigel 
The Clear Time 
Recording option frees 
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tinuous synch. That's 
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LesZellan backs you 



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investor, Pyravid International, will profit 
from all mail order sales, while Send handles 
retail placement . The tapes will retail at $44.95 , 
near the high end of the price range for a Holly- 
wood feature in Beta or VHS. Since the tapes at 
this volume cost $21 to manufacture, there's a 
potential $10 profit which will be split 60/40 
with the artists concerning the larger share. To 
earn $6 a tape won't rocket any artists to Fat 
City, but in terms of return per viewer, it 
doesn't compare badly to closed circuit show- 
ings, or, for that matter, PBS. Send Video Arts 
is also picking up the international home video 
rights for two years, so Agetstein is hoping to 
move into that market fast . Since home video is 
so much more widespread in Europe than 



America, there might be a few francs, guilders 
and deutschmarks to clink together if he suc- 
ceeds. 

Agetstein noted that this venture is different 
from previous attempts to sell individual tapes 
by such entities as Electronic Arts Intermix, 
Leo Castelli-Sonnabend Tapes and the 
Whitney Museum . One, they were selling to art 
consumers and in a 3 A " format; and two, their 
prices were not "mass market," nor were the 
tapes placed or advertised in the home video 
market. As for the future, a "Best of SF Video 
Fest" compilation is being considered. Pyravid's 
address is 61 Camino Alto, #108, Mill Valley CA 
94941,(415)381-2567. 

— Kathleen Hulser ■ 



SUPERS 



B&T Take Stock: 
How to Buy S-8 
in a Bear Market 

BOB BRODSKY& TONI TREADWAY 



What do documentarians, dramatic film- 
makers, video producers and artists, installa- 
tion and performance artists, anthropolo- 
gists, sociologists, media teachers, sci-fi 
buffs, community activists, tourists and por- 
nographers have in common? They all use 
Super-8. Perhaps not quite what Kodak had 
in mind, but still a healthy market (and could 
be a much better one if a few of the big-boys 
had their acts together; e.g. Kodak sells 50 ' 
and 200 ' Kodachrome S-8 out of separate 
divisions of the company!). Contrary to press 
predictions of five years ago, video has not 
wiped S-8 off the map; rather, the two are co- 
existing very well, and there is no foreseeable 
time when video will be able to do for the 
money, convenience and independence what 
S-8 is doing. There are, however, changes oc- 
curing in S-8. 

Like all mature media (where the market is 
stable rather than expanding) S-8 has fewer 
suppliers and outlets. It has become necessary 
for those who use it in each place to find one 
another and focus their purchasing on a few 
retailers who decide to serve this market. 

Our recent NEA-workshop tour of media 
centers (Seattle; Portland, OR; San Juan, 
PR; Milwaukee; Chicago; Pittsburgh and 
NY) brought out twice as many attendees as 
our tour of a year ago. Only in San Juan 
(where attendees came from as far as Maya- 
guez and Vieques) were S-8 users buying co- 
operatively and developing good lines of sup- 
plies for themselves. (They use Solar Cine 
Products, 4247 S. Kedzie, Chicago IL 60632.) 
They were also the best equipped and the least 
affluent group we visited. 

In many cities we found discount depart- 
12 



ment and drug stores charging up to 80% 
more for S-8 film than exclusive camera shops 
in the same cities. The logic is simple: if you 
can't move film quickly at a discount price, 
raise the price. Specialty photo shops work 
differently: They're in it for the long haul. 
Right now we're paying $7.95 for Sound 
Kodachrome and $8.83 for Ektachrome 160 
Sound, but we pay an additional $4.09 per roll 
for Kodak processing. 

Until recently Kodak was offering the best 
processing of S-8. The colors were clean and 
the film was returned scratchless. During the 
past year-and-a-half, Kodak has been reor- 
ganizing its S-8 processing facilities. The re- 
sult has been a disaster in its processing ser- 
vice. We urge those of you who are the victims 
to write to Paul Dickinson, Consumer Mar- 
kets Div., Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester 
NY 14650. Simply because it has more at 
stake in good processing, Kodak needs to hear 
from S-8 users. 

On the other hand, Fuji, which for so many 
years has neglected its Single 8 market (Fuji's 
S-8 format), has recently installed a new pro- 
cessing machine in Anaheim, CA, and is 
reaching new standards of excellence in quali- 
ty and turnaround time. Fuji equipment is 
very hard to find in the US. Stadium Film Lab 
in Pittsburgh has some; Halmar Enterprises 
(Box 474, Lewiston, NY 14092) has some and 
also has the pre-striped Fuji silent cassettes 
for post-recording. 

Evidence of how consumers can affect sup- 
pliers occurred recently when the Goko In- 
dustrial Company, Kawasaki, Japan, re- 
versed its decision to discontinue its top-of- 
the-line stereo sound (sound-on-sound. 




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sound-with-sound) recording editor (with 
straight-line film threading), the RM-8008. T. 
Goto, the president, said the reversal came in 
light of numerous letters from film teachers 
and other users. The price will increase, but 
even so, the options afforded by this magnifi- 
cent instrument will keep S-8 capabilities at 
their zenith. Our source of Goko RM-8008's, 
Jim Carpenter (Box 1321, Meadville, PA 
16335) is one of the world's strongest sup- 
porters of S-8 users. 

At this time it's also important to mention 
three other S-8 resources: Marvin and Sheila 
Bernard of Filmlife (I4l Moonachie Rd., 
Moonachie, NJ 07074) who have steadily im- 
proved their scratch removal and film rejuve- 
nation service. They can now handle S-8 
soundstriped tape-spliced film, as well as any 
other kind. Also, Phil Vigeant and Rhonda 
Schuster have revived Super-8 Sound (95 
Harvey St., Cambridge, MA 02140) with less 
of an emphasis on double-system and high- 
end equipment. Finally, Curt Buchanan 
(Steel Valley Film Services, 1125 Gill Hall 
Rd., Clairton PA 15025) continues to supply 
the all-important Cresta Interface unit for the 
Elmo GS-1200 projector. 

The counterpart of regional consolidation 
of sources of supplies for S-8 is the develop- 
ment of an international network of S-8 pro- 
moters. These persons and organizations have 
found a center in the International Federation 
of Super-8 Cinema, Inc. (9155 rue St. Hubert, 
Montreal, Quebec, Canada). The Federation 
is to S-8 users what the National Association 
of Broadcasters is to broadcasters. Through 
its newsletter (English, French, Spanish) it 
connects individuals and groups for the ex- 
change of films. Currently, the Federation is 
urging the government of Brazil, through its 
members and through its seat on UNESCO's 
International Council on Cinema and Televi- 
sion, to lift import restrictions on S-8 equip- 
ment. Like Quebec, one of Brazil's greatest 
resources seems to be its amateur filmmakers, 
who for economic reasons burn their visions 
onto S-8 film. The Federation promotes the 
diffusion of these outrageously independent 
visions throughout the world via national and 
independent festivals. These festivals have be- 
come international gathering places not only 
for the filmmakers (that eclectic bunch) but 
also for professionals from the media and en- 
tertainment world who are looking for new 
talent. The screenings at these weekend-to- 
weeklong events are now as well presented 
(and annotated) as at the better 16mm festi- 
vals. ■ 
Bob Brodsky & Toni Treadway are the 
authors of Super 8 in the Video Age, which 
was just translated into Spanish. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



FIELD REPORTS 



Skewed Priorities 
Dog Canada's 

Olympics" 



JANE NORTHEY 

The posters boasted it was "The Olympics of 
Video." Video Culture Canada, held last 
November in Toronto, lasted for six days and 
offered glittering galas, video screenings, com- 
puter graphics, "playlabs," performance art, 
installations, panel discussions and prizes. But 
for an "arts" event so heavily funded and 
strongly supported by corporate and govern- 
ment bodies alike, it was really an "Olympics of 
funding. " As all Olympics go, only a few could 
win — and in this case, they were not the artists 
and producers on whose work the festival based 
its art content. For independent producers, 
Video Culture Canada became a classic exam- 
ple of how art patronage built on a hierarchic 
model can fail. 

The founders of VCC, Renya Onasick and 
Peter Lynch, succeeded in securing financial 
support on the grounds that VCC would be the 
first significant "international new media/ 
video festival." But little of that money trick- 
led down to the artists, and the massive cor- 
porate support — companies ranging from 
Sony to Molson's Brewery to Apple Canada to 
IBM kicked in dollars — meant that artists 
tended to be valued for their international 
reputations or their novelties as "techno- 
oddities." As a result the real content of the 
artists' works and the context of the produc- 
tions were overlooked. Who ultimately 
benefitted from VCC and the lavish funding of 
patrons? It appears that the "festival" as an enti- 
ty gained far more than producers or audience. 

From the very start payments of artists fees, 
securing of broadcast rights, and the structure 
of the event were problematic for independent 
producers. Well before VCC took place, in- 
dependent video producers from across Can- 
ada took part in a series of discussions which 
developed into the "Video Alliance." Later 
discussions were held with Lynch, Onasick, 
and members of the major arts funding bodies 
present. 



FEES AND RIGHTS 
TROUBLE ARTISTS 

The original entry requirements envisioned 
artists paying $25, as well as giving VCC total 
broadcast and exhibition rights to their work. 
All videotapes would also be unconditionally 
subjected to Ontario Censor Board rulings. 
Although some of these provisions were later 
altered, the problems in the original set-up 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



reflected the attitudes of the event's two archi- 
tects. 

The organizers rationalized the lack of fees 
by assembling a tape library and exhibition 
around a competition. Artists could enter 
tapes to be judged in ten categories: % " inter- 
national art video, student work, educational 
work, general public, industrial, community 
programming, music video, performance/en- 
tertainment, video art and computer graphics. 
The entries were nominated, juried and finally 
awarded during the closing gala. One prize was 
awarded in each category; that is, of all the ar- 
tists who entered work, only ten would receive 
some kind of remuneration. These awards 
came in the form of VCC statuettes, video 
equipment, a $ l ,000 lump sum, and in two off- 
beat cases, an Apple lie computer and a 
Japanese plate. 

Upon entry, artists forfeited the right to col- 
lect an exhibition fee, regardless of how many 
times their tape was viewed in one of the two 
collections available for the public's perusal. 
For $2, the public could view any of the tapes 
nominated for a prize in a category. Tapes and 
segments of tapes were made available for pro- 
motional broadcast . Clearly few artists felt the 
benefits of the seemingly abundant funding. 

ONTA RIO BOA RD OF CENSORS 
INTRUDES 

Censorship was a more complex problem, 
due mainly to the venue Onasick and Lynch 
chose. The Ontario Board of Censors desig- 
nates specific public locations as under its 
jurisdiction and Harbourfront (a development 
with a studio theater, art gallery, cafes, bars, 
dance theater, elegant shops and luxury con- 
dominiums), which housed the festival, is one 
of them. (Art video falls under a special Censor 
Board policy, censorship by documentation: 
by reading a written description, the Board 
decides if any tapes require its approval.) The 
simple solution would have been to locate the 
video screenings elsewhere. However, thedeci- 
sion to exhibit at Harbourfront was obviously 
made with other considerations in mind. 

The Video Alliance made suggestions about 
these problems to the VCC organizers. Then 
Onasick and Lynch offered some rather weak 
solutions: they removed the $25 entry fee for 
producers; theentry form included a statement 
declaring that the artist waived a right to collect 
an exhibition fee for tapes exhibited in the 



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competition although tapes included in the 
"curated" free video library were paid for; 
broadcast of material would occur only with 
the permission of the artists, but no fees would 
be paid; and, finally, censorship would take 
the form of Examination by Documentation, 
resulting in the withdrawal from regular pro- 
gramming of tapes not approved by the Censor 
Board (thus screenings of such tapes could on- 
ly be by-invitation, private events). 

Members of the Video Alliance were left to 
decide for themselves whether these changes 
were acceptable. Many felt they were not, and 
lacking any trust in the administrators' integri- 
ty, declined the invitation to participate. As a 
result , visitors to VCC were not offered the op- 
portunity to see works by internationally 
established Canadian artists such as Vera 
Frenkel, Lisa Steele and Randy and Berenicci. 
Nor could Sony or any patron safely say that 
the organizers had used their funds responsibly 
in supporting artists' and public needs. 

TECHNO- TITILLA TION FOR PUBLIC 

In general the public was not aware of this 
situation. Regardless of the video arts, the at- 
traction for many was the "Playlab," a $4 per 
family hands-on booth. Here, in an atmos- 
phere that resembled a trade fair, visitors were 
encouraged to make their own videotapes or 
computer art. As an event to draw a wider 
crowd, the "Playlab" may have introduced 
people to equipment presently available on the 
market. It did not necessarily demystify com- 
puter or video technology, nor did it build a 
heightened public awareness of the uses and 
social impact of these technologies. And, un- 
fortunately for independent mediamakers, the 
events did nothing to clarify the value of the ar- 
tists' contributions to the technology. 

It's possible that the organizers saw the sym- 
posium as the main means of informing the 
"masses," although at $10 a panel one 
wonders whom the discussions were aimed at. 
Panels chaired by Willoughby Sharp on such 
topics as "The Role of the New Media/Video 
Artists in Industry," "Television Art" and 
"Video Criticism: Several Approaches" 
featured speakers with reputations in the 
video/technology field (John Sanborn, Kit 
Fitzgerald, Louise Etra, Tom Sherman and 
Kou Nakajima). The panels were televised, 
and awareness of this plus the amorphous 
topics may have stifled discussion. In any case, 
the discussions I attended lacked direction and 
never tackled issues candidly. 

VCC was an instance of how a particular ap- 
proach to patronage can fail. Had the event 
been artist-run or had artists even been con- 
sulted during the initial organization, the 
results would have differed drastically. In this 
case, the funding agencies were not aware of 
the community's lack of trust in the or- 
ganizers, nor were they informed about the ar- 
tists' requirements. As a matter of survival, in- 
dependent producers must make their de- 
mands known. As long as artists remain 
passive recipients of funding, they will con- 
tinue to be used as entrepreneurial tools while 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



their contributions to society, economic needs 
and rights will continue to be ignored. 

Jane Northey is a Toronto-based writer and 
artist. 

Business as Usual Reigns 
At AFI LA Video Festival 

Now in its third year, the American Film In- 
stitute's National Video Festival has come a 
long way from its debut, and not simply 
because its principal location has shifted from 
the Kennedy Center in Washington to the AFI 
campus in Hollywood. (Geography can be 
revealing.) At that first festival, Erik Barnouw 
in his keynote address spoke of the role, impor- 
tance and plight of independents and praised 
them as "society's most important 'safety 
net.'" This year, Elton Rule, vice chairman of 
ABC, also spoke of independents and the in- 
dustry's need for them and their innovative 
ideas. Referring to programs as products, he 
asserted that TV is heading towards a con- 
vergence of mainstream and alternative televi- 
sion, which has been held back by the slow 
evolution of the mass audience's taste. (Put the 
blame on Mame, boys?) Admitting that inde- 
pendents do not want to be "the unpaid 
research arm for the entertainment industry," 
Rule could offer independents little more than 
the satisfaction of being pathfinders gradually 
affecting the nature and quality of broadcast 
TV. 

In contrast with Barnouw's passionate 
belief that a new moment which might under- 
mine the communications monopoly in this 
country was dawning, Rule's dispassionate, 
detached pronouncements left little doubt that 
business as usual still rules broadcasting. Only 
when "new" forms like video games and music 
video capture the mass audience's interest and 
dollars is innovation entertained in television. 

There is nothing very startling in Elton 
Rule's remarks, and independents have heard 
it all before. What is new and discouraging is 
that AFI's National Video Festival is a vehicle 
for them, AFI having clearly opted for a safer 
middle course from the one outlined three 
years earlier. This year's festival had no clear 
theme, but rather a collection of diverse con- 
cerns. Programs were shown in three cate- 
gories: music, narrative and documentary. 
(Music video is increasingly used as a 
euphemism for video art today.) Panels ad- 
dressed issues surrounding the making and 
marketing of interactive videodiscs, music 
video, and "breakout" or innovative pro- 
grams in broadcast TV. There were several 
retrospectives highlighting the pioneering 
work of Ernie Kovacs; the three public TV labs 
at WNET, WGBH, and KCET; early indepen- 
dent video; computer graphics and animation; 
and TV commercials. Whether your interests 
ran toGoddard or industrial video, there was 
something for everyone as the festival roamed 
aimlessly over the video horizon. Controversy 
was at a minimum; the level of quest ions reach- 
ed new lows in technical debriefing and budget 
analysis; few sessions engaged the audience in 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 19S4 



anything beyond a superficial glance at the 
issues or the aesthetics of video programs. 

It is not so much that the festival was bad but 
that it was so bland . And blandness seems to be 
the price that AFI is willing to pay to assure its 
survival. Equally dependent on corporations 
like ABC and Sony for financial support and 
on independent producers for creative 
legitimacy, AFI is trying to please both worlds 
and, in so doing, is sacrificing its focus. 
Festival directors James Hindman and Jac- 
queline Kain have been staunch supporters of 
independents and can hardly be responsible 



for the net effect of institutional compromises 
and divergent internal concerns. 

The National Video Festival started out 
three years ago as a rallying point for creativity 
and independence in video and was on its way 
to becoming the single most important video 
event in this country. By playing it safe, AFI 
may be able to assure its survival and that of the 
festival; but the vitality of the National Video 
Festival is not so sure. —Deirdre Boyle ■ 

Deirdre Boyle is writing a history of 
documentary video. 



SCENE AT AFI LA FESTIVAL 




Shown at the AFI Video Fest: Perfect Leader by Max Almy (top left); Sweet Honey in the Rock in Michelle Parker- 
son's Gotta Make This Journey (top right); Abbie Hoffman in Paul Ryan's Preporto People Proto Pre-type: LA. 
"Nickel" by Branda Miller (above). 



15 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Southern Indies 
Tour Home 



Victor Nunez and Glen Pitre break new 

ground in the South; one man told Pitre it's 

the first time he saw a movie where people talk. 

RENEE TAJIMA 



Glen Pitre, a Cajun filmmaker who hails 
from Cutoff, Louisiana tells this story of a trip 
to New York City after finishing his film $8. 50! 
("Huit Piastres et Demie!"): "I was eating 
with a bunch of big distributors. After we fin- 
ished one of them walked me to the elevator. 
As I stood inside facing him while the door 
slowly closed he said to me, 'Beware of the ex- 
perts.'" 

This ominous advice couldn't be more ap- 
propriate for southern filmmakers in their ef- 
forts to show work below the Mason-Dixon 



South lags far behind. Every filmmaker who 
distributes in the region becomes, in a sense, a 
pioneer. Louisiana filmmaker Glen Pitre and 
Floridian Victor Nunez are two whose experi- 
ences speak to the range of strategies for barn- 
storming the South. 

FIRST IN THE BA YOU 

Glen Pitre's bayou tour of his 58-minute 
narrative film $8.50! is the Cajun manifesta- 
tion of the spirit which moved Hito Hata: 
Raise the Banner throughout Asian American 




Cajun tall tales: Louisiana shrimpers in Glen Pitre's $8.50 (Huit Piastres et Demie!). 



line. There is no definitive strategy for taking 
your film around the South (as I had hoped to 
find), although there is one oft-mentioned 
rule-of-thumb: do your research and tailor 
screenings and publicity to the venue and the 
audience. The South is a diverse region: from 
the sophisticated Atlanta audiences which fre- 
quent IMAGE programs to the 75% of Pitre's 
audience who had not been to any movie house 
in 10 years; from the rep houses in major cities 
and college campuses to multi-screen mall 
theaters and Main Street picture shows. 

While film and video production in the 
South is vital and growing despite the "talent 
drain" to the cultural mecca which plagues any 
outer region, indie exhibition throughout the 

16 



communities. Produced in 1979 for $30,000 
and released in 1981, it is the first Cajun- 
language, Cajun-produced film ever made. 
27-year-old Pitre, who grew up on Bayou La- 
fourche, called upon the Cajun tradition of tall 
tales to recount the 1938 shrimp war between 
local canneries and shrimpers. Pitre cast his 
own father Loulan Pitre as Daize Cheramie, 
the shrimpers' union president, while the 
townspeople of Larose, Cutoff, Galliano and 
Golden Meadow comprised the remaining cast 
of hundreds. 

When Pitre finished the film, he discovered 
his work was just beginning: "I couldn't find 
anyone around here for advice, so I asked 
theater owners. . .If I was doing it now I'd 



know a lot of people but at the time it was all 
seat-of-the-pants. " Local theater owners gave 
more than advice — Pitre remembers having no 
trouble getting $8.50! booked into everything 
from "a 'Mom and Pop' to an 80-screen 
chain," sight unseen. 

Pitre found himself in the enviable position 
of being offered bookings at 12 theaters but 
choosing to screen at only three. Despite the 
film's enthusiastic response and a 50-50 share 
arrangement with the theaters, he was still los- 
ing money on the screenings: because of the 
absence of 16mm projection, Pitre had to buy 
two arc projectors and hire someone to sit with 
the film at every showing. In retrospect he 
regrets not investing in a 35mm blow-up, but at 
the time the film "just mushroomed too fast," 
successful beyond any expectations. 

And a huge success it was. It's the stuff indie 
dreams are made of — at one theater $8.50! 
broke the box office record set by Star Wars. 
Pitre brought in audiences that had not attend- 
ed any movie, much less an independent one, 
in years. One man told him, "It's the first 
movie I've ever seen where people talked." 

Pitre and a couple of hired hands did every- 
thing themselves — booking, promotion, ad 
design, projection, and selling of $8.50! spin- 
offs at each showing. "I found out that in most 
places what I made on t-shirts, caps and posters 
brought in as much as what I made from the 
box office," Pitre explained. 

Pitre's main problem was being unprepared 
for success. Without experienced advice, he 
spent 53,000 on an ad campaign at one theater 
spread out over a long period of time, diluting 
its effectiveness. Distributors later told him 
that the campaign should have focused on the 
first week, with an eye to free publicity. In fact 
the free publicity $8.50! generated proved in- 
valuable. The local press turned out to be his 
main source of community support. 

Pitre intentionally avoided distribution to 
rep houses in bigger cities and to college towns . 
He explains, "I wanted to prove that in a rural, 
grassroots town we could pull people out if it's 
in French." However, he has no illusions that 
he has opened new avenues for other indies to 
follow. "If these films had been in English," 
Pitre told me, "I wouldn't have gotten the 
theater, much less drawn a crowd. We could 
have done well in our home town but those 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



cities miles away. . .they came because it was in 
French." This thinking governed his broader 
distribution strategy. "I jumped from the 
Bayou to Baton Rouge, then jumped to Mon- 
treal and went straight to France." 

Despite the enormous legwork involved in 
barnstorming with $8.50!, Pitre plans to do it 
again with his upcoming feature Acadian 
Waltz. He will shoot two versions: an English 
one to be released by a traditional distributor, 
and a French version to be self-distributed in 
the manner of $8.50! 

SELLING GAL YOUNG 'UN 

When Victor Nunez completed his first 
feature Gal Young 'Un in 1979, he dove into 
the exhilarating, consuming first wave of the 
indie feature movement. A Florida-born and 
based college professor, Nunez adapted Gal 
Young 'Un from a story by Marjorie Kinnan 
Rawlings about a plain Florida backwoods 
widow who marries a good-for-nothing young 
bootlegger during Prohibition. Like Pitre and 
other indie dramatists, Nunez relied on many 
non-professionals for his cast, including an 
English professor named Dana Preu who 
played the lead role of widow Mattie Siles. 

First screenings at the Atlanta International 
Film Festival and the American Independents 
program in the New York Film Festival made it 
clear that Nunez had an unexpected hit. But in 
contrast to Pitre, Nunez set his sights on 
broader national — and European — distribu- 
tion. Gal Young 'Un was then blown up to 
35mm and made the festival scene: taking 
prizes at Cannes and going on to Edinburgh, 
London, Toronto and others. The South 
became only one component of a broader 
strategy, although the South Carolina Arts 
Commission — one of the film's first ex- 
hibitors — included the film on its Southern 
Circuit tour. 

On the heels of Northern Lights' barnstorm- 
ing from town to town across the country, 
Nunez turned down "pretty good offers from 
distributors," opting instead to distribute the 
film himself in conjunction with the fledgling 
filmmakers cooperative First Run Features 
and the Independent Feature Project (IFP). 
Nunez remembers the excitement of this "first 
rush" of interest in indie features: "At the 
beginning of IFP there were a lot of romantic 
ideals about how 'we're going to break new 
ground,' with a fresh, new kind of distribution 
as well as filmmaking." 

However, Nunez did not embark on the ex- 
hausting task of barnstorming self- 
distribution as Sandra Schulberg had done 
with Northern Lights. First Run released Gal 
Young 'Un in 1981 and handled bookings and 
publicity, although Nunez did travel to the 
film's openings and spent an extended amount 
of time on its promotion. "Now I always tell 
people that when you finish a feature, be ready 
to spend a year promoting it," Nunez re- 
counts. "I didn't know that then." 

The Gal Young 'Un tour of the South was 
completely organized out of New York by First 
Run and IFP, with the exception of local 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 19B4 



screenings in home markets like Tallahassee 
and Gainesville. The film's success in the 
South was uneven. It did well at rep houses and 
is still generating 1 6mm rentals at film societies 
and colleges. But it has not done especially well 
in the theatrical market. "The South is a tough 
market," Nunez points out. "You really have 
to have a place where there's a creative ex- 
hibitor who is committed to independents." 



SOUTHERN CIRCUITR Y 

The groundwork for more creative exhibi- 
tion in the South is being largely laid by various 
regional media arts centers. Groups such as the 
Alabama Filmmakers Coop, the New Orleans 
Video Art Center (NOVAC), the Sinking 
Creek Film Celebration, the South Carolina 
Arts Commission (SCAC), the Southwest Al- 
ternative Media Center (SWAMP) and IM- 
AGE in Atlanta provide consultation, package 
tours, offer exhibition space, and give a lot of 
moral support. Pitre cites SWAMP's concrete 
and moral support as invaluable — they located 
him in the bayou, notified him of funding 
deadlines, set up an $8. 50! screening at the Rice 
Media Center, and submitted the Acadian 
Waltz script to the Sundance Institute. (Pitre 
has just returned from Sundance, and 
American Playhouse will produce the film.) 

"There's no established network, so you 
have to create your own each time, " said Susan 
Leonard, coordinator of SCAC's Southern 
Circuit, speaking of the plight of independents 
in the South. Southern Circuit is sponsored an- 
nually to open new venues and audiences for 
independent work. SWAMP organizes the 
10-site Southwest Film and Video Tour in 
Texas and hopes to expand it to other states. 

Michael Fleischman, director of SCAC's 
Media Center, suggests working with state hu- 
manities councils which have their own long- 
standing networks of cultural programming in 
local communities, or little-recognized 
resources such as the departments of parks, 
recreation and tourism and other existing 
institutions. 

This applies for non-regional filmmakers as 
well. New York-based Third World Newsreel is 
applying a combination of the barnstorming 
strategy with that suggested by Fleischman for 
a series of openings of Mississippi Triangle, a 
feature documentary on Chinese, black and 
white relations throughout the South. News- 
reel is setting up screenings in cooperation with 
local community groups, scholars, arts centers 
and other existing networks from the 
Clarksdale (Mississippi) Public Library to one 
of Montgomery, Alabama's newly-renovated 
picture palaces now run by a local community 
activist group. 

Media centers such as Appalshop in Whites- 
burg, Kentucky, the Center for Southern 
Folklore in Memphis, Tennessee, and the 
Highlander Center in Knoxville, Tennessee are 
production units as well as distributors — 
(continued on p. 28) 
(see p. 27 for "Theatrical Distribution in the 
South " address box) 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



Club Video: 
Art or Wallpaper? 

"Too often the screening of video art in rock 

clubs and bars is an acrimonious balancing 

act between the forces of Art and Business. " 



Bert Ball, plucky art video programmer at 
New York's Redbar, sighed and considered his 
words. "Well," he said at last, "when I show 
good tapes, people don't talk; when I show bad 
tapes they do. When I show good tapes, people 
don't buy drinks; when I show bad tapes they 
do. So when the bar complains, I'm happy." 

Ball can afford to poke fun at his somewhat 
paradoxical position — his Wednesday night 
series is a demonstrable success — but too often 
the screening of video art in rock clubs and bars 
is an acrimonious balancing act between op- 
posing forces of Art and Business. Most artists 
want to screen their tapes in optimum condi- 
tions — no noise, no clinking drinks, attentive 
audience, low lights. Most club owners, oblivi- 
ous to ordinary aesthetics, see beauty created 
at the bottom line of the number of drinks sold. 
Engrossing video doesn't sell drinks; boredom 
and, more often, the sensationalism of rock 
promos do. As a result, current art video is 
relegated to off nights at clubs — if it is shown at 
all. 

Yet in the days before MTV, 1980 and early 
1981, club video was a hot event for both ar- 
tists and club managers. Innovation was key 
and a booming audience swarmed to the clubs 
just to catch this latest wrinkle in late-night 
entertainment, sitting mesmerized before 
multiple monitors playing montaged images 
from numerous sources — NASA footage, ar- 
chival film, old TV — to the accompaniment of 
theme music. Sometimes the marriage of 
sound and image resulted in a riveting com- 
ment on post-modern culture; at other times 
the effect was disjunctive and the audience 
switched channels of attention from music to 
visuals and back again. 

Club veejays also showcased video artists: 
Shalom Gorewitz, Sanborn/Fitzgerald, Jane 
and Jeff Hudson. And video artists went to 
work as veejays to learn about music. Merrill 
Aldighieri, the first woman veejay, claims, "I 
did eight hours per night of visual program- 
ming. It made me produce a ton of visuals and 
made me very oriented to what type of visuals 
go to music." Aldighieri and many other ar- 
tist/veejays — such as John Sanborn, Maureen 
Nappi, Charlie Libin, Don Letts — went on to 
do more commercial work in video music. In 
fact, Aldighieri just produced one of the first 
Sony Video 45s. Called Danspak, it features 
18 



ARLENE ZEICHNER 

many of the bands — Richard Bone, Pulssil- 
lama, Living, Shox Lumania — that she first 
came to know as a veejay. 

Other artist/producers also initially reacted 
to this new venue with pleasure and anticipa- 




Mudd Club-ites gaze at big screen (top); Michael Au- 
der's Morocco Diaries showed at the Redbar (bottom). 

tion, hoping that art-oriented video-music, 
like the then-popular new wave music, would 
be able to crossover, making the type of barely 
compromised switch from art-house to mass 
audience recently accomplished by bands such 
as the Talking Heads and Blondie. Dara Birn- 
baum, one of the first artists to work closely 
with musicians, shipped her tapes to clubs 
across the country — Washington DC, Texas, 
and even to Canada. Later she was shocked to 
learn that a clip from her tape Kojak Wang was 
presented, without credit, as a preface to the 
notorious Public Image performance at the 
Ritz. (The band, much to the chagrin of the 
bottle-throwing audience, opted to remain 
behind a screen rather than appearing on 



stage.) And she received calls citing other ex- 
amples of illegal dubbing of her work. 

Birnbaum didn't bring suit against the 
clubs — after all, her tapes rely on off-air 
footage, recorded without copyright permis- 
sion — but became considerably less sanguine 
about the possibilities of club video. "It just 
doesn't look like a permanent solution," she 
said recently, "though, by osmosis, it did whet 
the appetite of a younger generation that 
wouldn't go to the Whitney." 

SMOKY ROOMS 

Many artists share Birnbaum's wariness — 
and her fascination with the club audience. 
Paul Dougherty, a populist, comparing clubs 
to the more elitist gallery experience, said, 
"You're not sitting silently in a straight- 
backed chair. It's fun being right there in the 
marketplace with conversation, smoky rooms 
and drinks in hand." 

Being in the marketplace does have its dis- 
advantages: the audience/consumer gets to 
determine presentation. And the rock club au- 
dience wanted to listen to rock and roll. As a 
result, many clubs presented artist-produced 
videos without their integral sound so that 
music could be heard. Carole Anne Klonar- 
ides, a former veejay at New York's Pepper- 
mint Lounge, remembers, "Most club audi- 
ences weren't visually articulate. If I forgot 
sound, people would tap on the veejay booth 
door; if I forgot visuals, no one would say 
anything." 

Clearly, then, artist works in clubs were not 
treated with gallery-like care: they were chopped 
up, overdubbed and, all too often, ignored 
completely. To make matters worse, artists 
were rarely paid rental fees; instead, they were 
given a few drink tickets. More and more art- 
ists refused to show their work in clubs. So by 
1982, the barely three-year-old club art video 
phenomenon was almost a victim of infant 
mortality. 

In early 1982, a brief reprise occurred: rock 
impressario Jim Fouratt decided that video art 
should be integrated into club practice. He 
hired John Sanborn and Kit Fitzgerald to pro- 
duce video at his new club, Danceteria. As ar- 
tists themselves, Sanborn and Fitzgerald viewed 
their mandate as protecting and showing 
videoworks in the best possible light. And 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



Fouratt's support protected Sanborn and Fitz- 
gerald's efforts from managerial and musical 
interference. Their video lounge and regularly 
scheduled screenings of work by video artists 
met with good artist and audience response; 
the more innovative presentations that juxta- 
posed video and performance — such as an 
evening with Nam June Paik and Charlotte 
Moorman— were especially popular. Rumor 
had it that Fouratt planned to expand the video 
activities, but he was forced to leave the club in 
late 1982. (Fitzgerald and Sanborn left soon 
after.) 



CL UB MA NA GERS KE Y FA CTOR 

The experience with Fouratt underscores the 
effect of an interested club manager on video 
presentation. Most current club owners care 
little about art video and don't devote any staff 
resources to it. The scant work shown is usually 
supplied by rock video distributors — Rock- 



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America, Zoom and Sound and Vision. All are 
willing to distribute the work of artists but they 
tend to focus on tapes easily adaptable to the 
club scene: silent works or those heavily reliant 
on special effects. Even so, distributors in- 
dicated that these works were considerably 
more difficult to sell than those of the latest 
rock groups. Tima Surmelioglu of Sound and 
Vision estimates that she rents 10 times as 
many rock and roll reels as artist tapes. And 
even that requires special effort — she must 
personally phone club veejays and convince 
them of the strength of her work. 

Gallery distributors, by choice, rarely sup- 
ply work to the club scene. Laurie Zippay of 
Electronic Arts Intermix, one of the leading 
distributors of art tapes, explains, "We've 
been approached by many, but have made ar- 
rangements with none." Why? "Because we 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



GROWING PAINS 

Help FIVF grow! We can no longer 
use our office space for screenings, 
seminars, workshops and other public 
events that we sponsor throughout the 
year. If you know of screening or 
meeting spaces with film and/or video 
equipment in Manhattan, please call 
Isaac Jackson at (212) 473-3400. 



haven't been approached with a satisfactory 
arrangement." That is, most clubs refuse to 
pay for the work. Both Zippay and Barbara 
Osborne of The Kitchen have supplied tapes to 
a few clubs, notably Danceteria, the Redbar 
and a small club in Austin called Nightlife that 
recently began regularly scheduled video 
screenings. 

Osborne feels that video art in bars is "par- 
ticularly valuable outside New York where 
there aren't any venues," but complains that 
regional video in clubs, generated out of a 
"paucity of resources," generally dies as soon 
as a gallery opens — or a new club owner gets 
hip to the fact that rock and roll sells more 
drinks than art video. Gallery curators from 
Chicago's Randolph Street Gallery to San 
Francisco's La Mamelle concur with 
Osborne's conclusions. (The screenings at 
Nightlife will be suspended when a local gallery 
opens in early 1984.) Happily, one video cura- 
tor, Neil Seiling, has been able to use club 
screenings to his advantage as hip adver- 
tisements for his gallery, University Commun- 
ity Video. He has programmed several shows 
at Minneapolis' First Avenue Club and reports 
that audiences at out-of-the-way UCV have in- 
creased as a result. 

MULTI-MEDIA FUTURE 

It is fitting that club video can help support 
art organizations; after all, the earliest club 
videos often took place at transformed art 
galleries. In 1980, San Francisco's club video 
was spawned at an alternative space by a collec- 
tive group of artists — ARE — who turned the 
space into a bar one evening per week. And 
Tom Bowes, former video curator at The Kit- 
chen, presented early shows of video music in a 
lounge-like set-up at the gallery that helped 
shape the local late-night video scene. 

Artist participation in club video may once 
again become imperative: with the prolifera- 
tion of MTV and MTV-clones — "Friday 
Night Videos," "New York Hot Rocks," 
"Radio 1990" — the club-going video audience 
will demand more than just another version of 
weekend late-night TV. Multimedia shows, 
joining work of live performers and video art- 
ists with the common thread of music, are sure 
to be the next phase. It'll take a while for the 
music business to reformat this new style for 
mass consumption. Meanwhile, video artists 
would do well to heed Kit Fitzgerald's advice 
that "clubs are a good place to pull a young au- 
dience away from the MTV mentality and start 
complicatingtheirideasabout television." ■ 

Arlene Zeichner is a New York-based 
freelance writer. 



3^* 




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19 




Television news is often credited with bring- 
ing the Vietnam War into America's living 
rooms. This popular theory is debatable — TV 
certainly did not bring us, for instance, the 
reasons for the war, the history of Vietnam, or 
the views of the North Vietnamese. However, 
it did, with grim regularity, put napalmed 
children, burning Buddhists and summary 
executions (if not Thieu's "monkey cages") on 
the evening news. 

But if television brought us at least some ver- 
sion of Vietnam, it has, by and large, kept 
Latin America from us. Where were the TV 
crews in the 1970s when the left "disappeared" 
in Argentina or the Tupamaros were hunted 
down? Countries such as El Salvador do make 
it onto the screen, but usually only if their 
governments are dependent on US aid. What 
network has turned its cameras on the fighting 
in Guatemala, the torture chambers in Chile, 
the massacres in Peru? It has been left largely 
to independent filmmakers to notice, in- 
vestigate, analyze and document these con- 
flicts; when the networks do deign to cover 
these stories, they often rely on independent 
footage. 

While independents may have taken it upon 
themselves to "tell the world," the situation 
has also raised several difficult issues for them . 
How does one establish and contact sources in 
a dangerous situation? How should one repre- 
sent oneself to the left and the right? What is 
the role of a US journalist? How does one pro- 
tect footage (and oneself) from the "wrong" 
side? Most importantly, perhaps, how do you 
tell a person's story without thereby endanger- 
ing his or her life — and if you can't, is the story 
worth it? Shooting under physically and poli- 
tically dangerous conditions in Latin America, 
all these issues become intertwined. 

ESTABLISHING SOURCES 

It is one's contacts and credibility (as a jour- 
Above photo: Facing death in Guatemala: "When the 
Mountains Tremble." 



To the Source 
in latin America 

"/ mention no names, real or assumed; I just call them comrades." 
— Song of the Tupamaros, urban guerrilla group in Uruguay. 






SUSAN UN FIELD 

nalist and a human being) among people in 
danger which forms the basis for many in- 
dependents' work and which, they often feel, 
distinguishes it from that of TV journalists. 
Rachel Field, an ex-professor of visual an- 
thropology at Hampshire College who is cur- 
rently making a film on the Mapuche Indians 
of Chile (called Marrichi-Hueu, or "Ten 
Times We Will Overcome") said, "You can't 
just bop in and out of a country. In my case the 
links grew organically out of solidarity work I 
had done for many years. The sources were 
there. It has to do with why you're doing a film, 
if you're doing it to help people be seen and 
heard. If that's true, your history of involve- 
ment will mean that those links can be 
created." Martin Lucas, co-director of Camino 
Triste: The Hard Road of the Guatemalan Refu- 
geessaid "gringos were basically bad news" 
among the' Guatemalans living in southern 
Mexico whom he videotaped. "Trust was the 
crucial element, " Lucas said. "The only way to 
do it was to be introduced through third par- 
ties — not only for political reasons, but also 
because the roads were bad and the maps all 
wrong." Lucas said that he and his co- 
producer Nancy Peckenham made an explora- 
tory visit to each camp before shooting 
anything, "both for their safety and ours." 

Producer Alex Drehsler, a former reporter 
for the San Diego Union who covered the 
Nicaraguan Revolution, said his past work was 
"incalculably important" in establishing con- 
tacts for El Salvador: In the Name of the Peo- 
ple. His sources among the international bri- 
gades who had fought with the Sandinistas 
contacted representatives of the FMLN-FDR 
(El Salvador's coalition of opposition groups), 
who helped smuggle him into the country 
along the Honduran-Salvadoran arms supply 
route and allowed him to film in Guazapa, a 
guerrilla-controlled zone. Thomas Sigel, who 
has shot in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras 
and Guatemala, said that most Latin 
American opposition organizations have 




representatives in the US who establish con- 
tacts for his film work. "It's a very tricky thing 
to talk about contacts for illegal activities," 
Sigel said. "Hundreds of people become in- 
volved in getting journalists into a guerrilla 
operation." 

The question of sources is also the question 
of a filmmaker's relation to his subject — an 
issue raised in any documentary film. "It's ex- 
acerbated when you're working under condi- 
tions of military dictatorship or war," Field 
said, "but the same questions arise in an 
anthropological context. The only answer is to 
have a long-standing relationship with and 
commitment to the people you're film- 
ing — not only so that they understand the film, 
but also so they're involved in the process of 
making it. This presupposes a different at- 
titude than news-gathering." 



PRESS POWER 

While "gringos are bad news," US press 
coverage is nevertheless often desired by both 
the left and the right. "There was always a feel- 
ing that the most important film on Salvador 
had to be made by North Americans," said 
Glenn Silber, co-producer of El Salvador: 
Another Vietnam, often considered the film 
which "broke" the Salvador story in the US 
press. "This was a strong card for us [in terms 
of the left] . Because no matter how many films 
were made in Mexico City, the madness 
wouldn't stop unless North Americans saw 
it." Silber, who was backed by PBS money, 
also benefited from the American Embassy's 
eagerness to present its views: the Embassy 
helped arrange interviews with high Sal- 
vadoran government officials, although it 
refused to let him interview then-US Am- 
bassador Robert White. 

Tom Sigel, whose work often includes inter- 
views with right-wing generals and scenes of ar- 
my brutality, said, "The power of the North 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



American press is not to be underestimated. 
But there is a big difference between filming in 
El Salvador and Guatemala. The US is bank- 
rolling El Salvador, so there's much more mo- 
tivation to be filmed: the government spends 
time trying to find things that look good for the 
press. The Guatemalan government isn't sup- 
ported by us, so it doesn't give a damn." 
Nevertheless, for their film When the Moun- 
tains Tremble Sigel and co-director Pamela 
Yates managed to spend a week living and 
travelling with a unit of the Guatemalan Army 
on an "anti-subversive" mission, filming such 
incriminating scenes as an army roundup of an 
entire village. "But the army thought that was 
great," Sigel said. "They thought it showed 
that people support the army. They have a very 
different idea of what looks good." 

For Nicaragua: Report from the Front, Sigel 
and Yates spent several months trying unsuc- 
cessfully to get into "contra" (US-supplied 
anti-Sandinista) training camps in Honduras. 
"Finally," Sigel said, "I think the CIA made a 
decision to open it up to the press. Clearly the 
contras had wanted to talk, but there was a 
very heavy decision not to let us in, to the extent 
that even a Honduran soldier wouldn't take a 
bribe. And if a Honduran soldier won't take a 
bribe, you know that something's up. But then 
they told us that 'blue eyes' had said it was OK . 
We took that to mean the CIA. And right after 
us, they let in a number of other journalists. " 

Many independents ally themselves with a 
network when working in Latin America for 
security and credibility reasons. Sigel, who has 
worked frequently for CBS, said, "If you say 
you're an independent filmmaker in Latin 
America, it's like you're a Martian. The 
authorities have no way to deal with it." The 
left, too, is often impressed with network 
credentials. In the Name oj the People 's direct- 
or Frank Christopher said his CBS tie (the net- 
work paid for his trip to El Salvador on the 
condition that it would have first option on any 
footage) was very important to the guerrillas: 
"They wanted their story to get out." How- 
ever, the value of the CBS connection evap- 
orated with startling speed once Christopher 
and crew left the "liberated zone" and entered 
San Salvador. Christopher said that a guerrilla 
who was captured by the army revealed under 
torture that the filmmakers had been up in the 
mountains with the insurgents, "at which 
point CBS told us, 'Goodbye — don't contact 
us until you're out of the country.'" The crew 
managed to gain asylum in the Mexican Em- 
bassy for a week and was then deported to 
Mexico City; their Super-8 footage, which they 
had buried up in the mountains, was subse- 
quently smuggled by guerrillas to a CBS con- 
tact in San Salvador, and then sent to the US. 

Nevertheless, Sigel said, North American 
journalists are very privileged people in Latin 
America: "The situation changed after they 
killed Bill Stuart [ABC reporter killed by 
Somoza forces in 1 979] . That was the final nail 
in the coffin: the negative publicity of it was 
just too much." Or, as Emilio Rodriguez, a 
Puerto Rican filmmaker who works with In- 
cine (the Nicaraguan Film Institute) said, 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 




FMLN guerrillas training in the mountains: El Salvador: Another Vietnam. 



"They'll kill Dutch journalists [four Dutch 
journalists were killed by Salvadoran govern- 
ment forces in 1982], because no one cares 
what the Dutch think. But they care about the 
Americans." 

PROTECTING SOURCES 

It is not so much in protecting themselves 
but rather in protecting their subjects that 
many independents seem to have the greatest 
questions and deepest doubts. Who decides 
what is safe, what is useful, what is "worth it" 
to shoot? Here, the judgment of the filmmaker 
and his subject combined with the political 
particularities of the country in which he works 
all weave a complex mosaic of decision. 

"If you're dealing with a [political] 
organization, you have to trust that organiza- 
tion about what you can and can't film, " Tom 
Sigel said. In the case of When the Mountains 
Tremble, Sigel said the URNG (National 
Revolutionary Unity of Guatemala, a coali- 
tion of opposition groups) determined what 
was appropriate to shoot. The peasants he 
filmed, Sigel said, "were already burned — 
they had already clearly been identified as 
enemies of the army . " 

Still, there were many gray areas. Sigel's film 
contains a closeup interview of a neigh- 
borhood activist speaking about government 
kidnappings; that man himself is later "disap- 
peared" and, in the film, his neighbors praise 
him and later attend his funeral . The neighbors 
"clearly made the decision that they wanted to 
talk," Sigel said. "But they were also clearly 
very upset. Was it the right decision?" Sigel 
and Yates spent the next several days in the 
neighborhood to give people time to decide if 
they wanted to appear in the film. The decision 
was yes. "They felt they were under attack 
already, and it wouldn't hurt. They thought it 
might help. And they didn't say anything ter- 



ribly subversive: if they're in jeopardy it's for 
other things they've done, not this film." 

"How do you know what's safe?" Rachel 
Field asked. "You must know. Again, it's a 
question of how you work. People will orient 
you if you're close to them. One learns how to 
write in code, how not to keep phone 
numbers. " Speaking of the Chilean resistance 
she said, "Many of them have been living 
clandestinely for 10 years. They know what 
precautions to take." 

When shooting in El Salvador, Alex Dreh- 
sler requested a full-time liaison from the 
FMLN-FDR who could guide him in questions 
of security, advising him not only on which 
people were safe to film but also on such mat- 
ters as camp locations. Drehsler said the people 
he shot "were already in the greatest danger: 
they're with the guerrillas, behind the lines. 
There really isn't any more danger they could 
be in. " But even here the situation can be fluid . 
Drehsler filmed FDR member Saul Billalta ad- 
dressing guerrilla troops before an attack; 
Billalta later left the "liberated zone" and 
returned to the city. At that point the FMLN 
advised the filmmakers to remove him from 
their film, as his identity was no longer safe. 
But Billalta was subsequently captured and 
tortured, and is now presumed dead; in con- 
junction with the FMLN, the filmmakers then 
decided to restore him into the film. 

Exacerbating security worries is the absolute 
conviction among all the filmmakers inter- 
viewed that the army and government would 
obtain, or at least see, their works. Emilio 
Rodriguez recalled a press conference in San 
Salvador during which a government official 
showed footage the government had pilfered 
off a major US network's satellite transmitter 
the previous day, much to the dismay of the 
network's reporter who was in the audience. 
Lucas said that, before any publicity on his 
tape had been released, his distributor receh ed 

21 



THE INDEPENDENT 




'In the Name of the People": 



guerrillas In El Salvador; two were killed shortly after this photo was taken. 



a request for a copy from the US Embassy in 
Guatemala. Silber said the CIA requested a 
copy of his film, "which we declined. But I 
assumed that the State Department would get a 
copy one way or another, which they could 
send to the Salvadoran government. But if you 
keep thinking of that, you'll end up doing 
nothing." 

THE GOOD AND THE BAD 

There seem to be two situations where peo- 
ple are most willing to appear on camera: 
where the situation is so bad that they have lit- 
tle left to lose, or so good that they are no 
longer afraid. Rodriguez, who worked with an 
international press corps documenting the 
Sandinista uprising in 1979, said, "There were 
many young people wearing ski masks and ker- 
chiefs over their faces. They weren't showing 
off, playing guerrilla; they were afraid that if 
their identities were revealed, Somoza's securi- 
ty forces would carry out revenge against their 
families. But most of the people saw the victory 
coming, the Somoza regime crumbling so fast, 
that they just didn't care at that point." 

But for many, it is desperation, not victory 
foreseen, which prompts them. This has not 
produced a glib "it doesn't matter anyway" at- 
titude among independents but, rather, a grim 
awareness of the stakes of daily life in many 
countries. "I don't know if it makes sense to 
speak of reprisals when people are constantly 
harassed and repressed, " Field said of her 1 983 
trip to Chile. "By their very work, their very 
nature, they're subject to such repression — the 
government doesn't need a film. People face, 
almost with a sense of resignation, that the 
stakes are extremely high: disappearance 
brutality. I was walking down the street with a 
friend and she pointed and said, 'That's a casa 
de tortura' [torture house]. There it is. That's 
part of their life. They've been in the stadium 
22 



[the Santiago Stadium where thousands of 
people were tortured and killed during the 1 973 
coup] and gotten out. They're fighting. They 
want to speak out." 

Speaking of the Guatemalan Indians, a tra- 
ditionally isolated group, Lucas said, "It's a 
sign of their desperation [that they are talking 
to the press]. They have so little to lose. The 
situation is so bad, they felt it was worth taking 
the risk. Everybody we interviewed was 
scared; we really had to weigh the benefits and 
drawbacks. There were several cases where 
people had good stories but it just wasn't 
worth shooting: they were too identifiable, 
and their families were still inside Guatemala. " 
Or, as Silber said of his work in El Salvador, 
"It's hard for us as Americans to realize the 
risks of everyday life there. When they open 
their mouths it's because they're suffering so 
much that they want to explain what the hell's 
happening." 

Not all people in a given situation are equally 
at risk, and several filmmakers stressed the im- 
portance of sensitivity to the various life 
choices people have made. People who have 
decided to take up arms are, obviously, in a dif- 
ferent situation from those who may be offer- 
ing them secret support. "There's a difference 
between appearing on screen saying 'I'm a 
guerrilla' and standing with your baby at a 
baptism," Sigel said. Lucas said the 
spokespeople in his tape were often the local 
leaders who had chosen to speak out "and were 
already in danger." Silber included some 
closeup interviews with women in a refugee 
camp which was not identified and who, he 
said, were not traceable: "We didn't go to such 
lengths to protect them. I didn't feel they were 
in such jeopardy: their story was the same as 
everyone else's — the army has destroyed all 
their lives. You can't get totally paranoid or 
you'll end up making a film where you just in- 
terview government officials." 



UNDERSTANDING RISKS 

The question of a subject's understanding 
and use of the media arises repeatedly when 
filming in Latin America. "When you're ap- 
proaching people and talking to them, it's easy 
to assume a great sophistication of the media, 
which people often don't have," Sigel said. 
"It's putting a great responsibility on them. 
But some people do decide to take risks, to con- 
sciously put themselves in danger, and you 
have to respect that. It might be presumptuous 
not to use that footage. You really have to 
evaluate how much the person you're filming 
understands the implications of what you're 
doing." 

Such a situation faced Silber and co-pro- 
ducer Tete Vasconcellos in making Another 
Vietnam, which contains a powerful closeup 
interview with a refugee camp worker talking 
about ORDEN (right-wing death squad) atro- 
cities. "Obviously there's one guy in our film 
we didn't protect," Silber said. "He felt com- 
pelled to talk . We told him they might take him 
away after the film aired . But when he heard he 
could speak to a million Americans — how is 
someone like that going to say no, given the 
situation and history of his country? He said, 
'Load the camera.' He was so deeply commit- 
ted to speaking: it was the hope of his life. He 
speaks with such conviction and 
courage — would filming him in silhouette, or 
with a mask on, have allowed him to make his 
point? And it was clear that this guy was 
already putting himself in jeopardy — marked 
— just by the work he was doing. For the hu- 
man rights workers in Salvador, it's almost just 
a matter of time: they can change the way they 
walk to work, but at some point they'll prob- 
ably get picked up. So his choice was simple. 
But our choice was not simple." 

Silber filmed another human rights worker 
with his back to the camera but, he said, "When 
I got back home I thought: 'You can still see his 
shirt: And he probably only has two or three 
shirts.' You're kidding yourself if you think 
you've protected them." 

The connection between appearing in a film 
and subsequent events in a person's life can 
never really be known, especially since many 
people appearing on camera are already "mark- 
ed." A peasant in Lucas' tape speaks about the 
army's murder of his son; two months later, the 
army came back and killed his daughter. The 
ex-president of Salvador's Human Rights 
Commission, who altered her appearance 
substantially for her interview in Another Viet- 
nam, is now dead. But the cause and effect 
relation, if any, is unknown. 

Nevertheless, said Alex Drehsler, "the 
worry is always there for me. Should I film 
this? But I've met a lot of photographers and 
reporters interested only in getting the story. 
I've never yet come across a network reporter 
who asked, 'What will this do to the people?' 
They say, 'Hey, I'm not a censor. He chose to 
talk.' Their major concern is to beat the com- 
petition for the story. Our position as in- 

(continued on p. 28) 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Asian American Indies 
Gain PTV Exposure 

"Silk Screen, " packaging eight indie films, 

promotes minority viewpoints on public airwaves, but 

raises issues of ghettoization and non-priority scheduling. 



Last fall, Asian Americans, part of the 
Great Ignored, had a chance to view views on 
them, by them, and for them (and the rest of 
the television public). But because of its 
nonprime-time slot, and delayed scheduling 
on the nation's largest public TV station (New 
York's Channel 13) Silk Screen, as the series is 
known, may not get the applause it deserves. 
What is the sound of one hand clapping? 
What, indeed? 

Considering the infrequency of minority 
programs on TV produced by minorities them- 
selves, the debut of Silk Screen, with Robert 
Ito of Quincyas host, was some kind of coup: 
the first time the Public Broadcasting Service 
had acquired a series of programs by and about 
Asian Americans. Consisting of six half-hour 
programs encompassing eight short films, Silk 
Screen was transmitted by PBS on Sundays last 
fall. I use the qualifying phrase "some kind" 
because PBS chose to transmit at 10 pm, out- 
side of the core schedule. 

"Core schedule" refers to programs aired 
Sunday through Wednesday on the prime-time 
slot of 8 pm to 10 pm, programs that close to 
90% of the public TV stations commit them- 
selves to carrying at the time of transmis- 
sion. The rest of the time the stations can 
choose which programs best fit their needs. 
This prime time schedule is drawn up by PBS's 
program department, which then submits the 
proposed schedule to a committee made up of 
10 to 15 reps from individual stations. This 
committee may suggest changes, but PBS still 
has final say. 

The different stations don't have to follow 
PBS's scheduling priorities — i.e. , a station can 
broadcast a PBS nonprime time program on 
its prime time. Of the PTV outlets in six major 
cities (Honolulu, Los Angeles, Seattle, San 
Francisco, Washington DC, and New York), 
only New York's WNYC UHF Channel 31 
broadcast the series at prime time — 9:30 pm on 
Wednesdays. San Francisco video artist 
Spencer Nakasako, who with Vincent DiGiro- 
lamo made Monterey's Boat People, part of 
the series, is particularly upset with San Fran- 
cisco's KQED-TV for airing the series after 
prime time (10:30 pm on Wednesdays) when 
four of the artists involved are from there. He 
points out that "many local white video artists 
do similar work and are shown on prime time. " 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



LUIS H. FRANCIA 

After considerable back and forth within the 
station, New York's Channel 1 3 decided to run 
Silk Screen this January and February on Sun- 
days at ll:30 pm. Media schedulers are once 
again routing a worthy minority effort off the 
main road. 

Still, PBS's acceptance of the series is grudg- 
ing acknowledgement of the politics of pres- 




Arthur Dong's "Sewing Woman" as a girl in China. 

sure. Independent video and filmmakers in the 
minority communities have in the past criticiz- 
ed PBS for neglecting minority programming. 
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, 
Barry Chase, director of PBS news and public 
affairs, conceded that such criticism has spur- 
red a search for broader perspectives that 
would include minority viewpoints. He went 
on to say that PBS is developing a "coterie of 
producers who either are part of these minority 
groups, or especially sensitive to the interests 
of these groups." 

Nothing is done out of sheer altruism, of 
course. PBS's move toward minorities makes 
sense in purely pragmatic terms. The Asian 
American population, for instance, is the 
fastest-growing in the United States, with His- 
panics a close second. According to the 1980 
census there are 3.5 million Asians (the real 
figure is almost certainly much higher) — a 



120% jump in a decade. In short, the market is 
there, particularly in urban areas where the 
largest public TV outlets and most Asians are. 
An agency like PBS, once encrusted with 
routine and respectability, behaves neither like 
a fool or a visionary. In the case of Silk Screen, 
it's hedging its bets. 

NEED TO EXPLAIN ONESELF? 

The main thrust of the series is explanatory/ 
expository. (This is not to cavil as it fills a large 
gap in the perceptions of both the public and 
the media.) The eight films focus principally 
on concerns that have always been central to 
immigrants in this country — e.g., the refugee 
question (Bittersweet Survival, Monterey's 
Boat People); underpaid labor and unioniza- 
tion (Sewing Woman, Pinoy); a traditional art, 
tattooing (Tattoo City); and rediscovering 
one's cultural roots (China: Land of My 
Fathers). Despite two centuries of existence, 
Asian America remains an odd and appealing 
mixture of enigma and exotica for mainstream 
society. Being born here and growing up 
American would seem to preclude the need to 
explain oneself. And yet Asian Americans are 
always having to explain themselves, a com- 
mon lament particularly among artists. 

The most obvious reason is the media's 
rather narrow focus — a combination of pop 
sociology and sensationalism, conditioned by 
a history of stereotyping and prejudice. Robert 
Ito, Silk Screen host, complains that much TV 
writing is full of stereotyping, that "the people 
who write these stories haven't done their 
homework." He hopes Silk Screen "opens the 
door for both young and experienced film- 
makers." 

With the broadcast of Silk Screen the door 
does open, but how wide? Is the opening a 
pigeonhole of comfortable assumptions and 
presumptions? James Yee, executive director 
of the National Asian American Telecom- 
munications Association (NAATA), cites the 
dangers of ghettoizaiion. "We would like to 
place works by Asians on non-Asian sub- 
jects." Put another way. Nam JunePaik cots a 
show at the Whitney, but will he be aired on 
PBS? The dilemma holds true for all experi- 
mental film and video artists, but the minority 
indie artist is in a double bind. 

23 



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FILM INDUSTRY 
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we deliver anything 
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Monterey's boat people: Is Silk Screen presenting or 
ghettoizing them? 

In nonexperimental areas that aren't speci- 
fically "ethnic," the minority artist is regarded 
with special skepticism — as though the artist 
were straying beyond his or her cultural im- 
perative. The implied comment behind the arch- 
ed eyebrow is, "You're good at documenting 
your cultural rites, but are you sure you can 
handle something else?" Were such straying to 
become the norm, media power brokers would 
be forced to dispense with limits they've set for 
the minority artist. 

FROM ARTIST TO CONSORTIUM TO 
AIRWAVES 

Silk Screen was packaged by the San Fran- 
cisco-based, nonprofit NAATA as a major 
step in its committment to upgrade television 
and radio programming on Asian American 
themes. Specifically formed to acquire and dis- 
tribute film, video, and radio works by Asian 
American indies, NAATA is unlike other con- 
sortia working collaboratively with PBS — it 
isn't a station project, and it consists of people 
actively involved with film, either as film- 
makers, producers or cinematographers. 
NAATA's budget is made up mainly of funds 
from the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting, and various lesser grants. James Yee 
describes the CPB funding as "seed money." 

Work on the series started in June 1 982 when 
NAATA began screening the first of 64 sub- 
missions. By March of this year, the complete 
program of eight films were chosen: Bit- 
tersweet Survival by Christine Choy and J.T. 
Takagi; Sewing Woman by Arthur Dong; 
Pinoy by Deborah Bock; Monterey's Boat 
People by Spencer Nakasako and Vincent 
DiGirolomo; With Silk Wings: On New 
Ground by Loni Ding; China: Land of My 
Fathers by Felicia Lowe; Tattoo City and 
Emiko by Emiko Omori. The selection is 
noteworthy for the number of projects by 
women — six — and for its nonstereotypical 
views of Asian American women at work. 

In May PBS agreed to take on the series. 
Asked why NAATA decided to approach PBS 
directly rather than individual stations — the 
usual route taken by independents — project 
director Louise Lo (herself an independent 
director and producer) stated, "We decided to 
go for as much exposure as possible by ap- 
proaching the national distributor." (Actual- 
ly, had NAATA decided to approach in- 



dividual stations it would have stood just as 
good or even better a chance of getting na- 
tional exposure. As PBS statistics indicate, 
most programs it distributes do in fact 
originate from individual stations. For in- 
stance, in 1980 the member stations produced 
72. 8% of PBS's schedule, at a cost of $59.5 
million or 56.6% of the schedule cost.) 



NAA TA OFFERS HELPING HAND 

NAATA's role is obviously invaluable to 
Asian American indies. To cite one instance: 
Arthur Dong (Sewing Woman), who describes 
the airing of Silk Screen as "terrific," recounts 
how, since his film is only 1 4 minutes long, PBS 
wouldn't take it even though schedulers showed 
some interest. It was suggested that if he agreed 
to the film being used as a filler — "rather 
insulting," in Dong's opinion — or if he could 
find another film to go with it as a package, an 
airing might be quite possible. NAATA's pro- 
ject resolved Dong's dilemma, relieving him of 
the extracinematic burden of packaging. 

Since the series' format is a half hour, some 
films had to be cut. This task fell to cinema- 
tographer Michael Chin (Chan Is Missing, 
American Samurai), who then worked closely 
with the filmmakers. According to Lo, "all of 
the changes were minor." In the case of the 
30-minute Pinoy, the story of a Filipino immi- 
grant laborer who becomes active in union 
organizing, NAATA sought and obtained per- 
mission from its producers to use excerpts. 
NAATA paid fees to filmmakers ranging from 
$60 to $75 a minute. 

NAATA had hoped to get promotion funds 
from PBS as well, but had to turn to such other 
sources as Chevron and Chemical Bank when 
informed that a moratorium had been imposed 
on the use of step-up funds and that such funds 
were being allocated only for Wednesday 
specials. This was especially disappointing 
since NAATA has furnished Silk Screen to 
PBS free of charge. Currently, according to 
Yee, NAATA is involved in radio program ac- 
quisition and co-production. Two-and-a- 
half-hour segments, he says, "should pro- 
bably be available in early January. " There are 
also plans for a work that will satirize how 
Asian Americans react to everyday American 
culture. "It will," promises Yee, "poke fun at 
ourselves." ■ 

Luis H. Francia is a poet, writer and movie 
buff. 



24 



WK£3f\ 



IS CALL 



Am* m mo 

Against US Intervention 
in Central America: 

Major screenings, exhibitions, events and 
performances are being planned in solidarity 
with the people of Central America, in con- 
/unction with INALSE (Institute of the Arts & 
Letters of El Salvador in Exile.) The events 
are scheduled to coincide with the January 
22 International Day of Solidarity with El 
Salvador. Artist Call will exhibit jointly with 
the exiled and embattled artists of Central 
America. To submit a film or videotape call 
(212) 242-3900. 




lilllll 




Many complain that New York City is the 
nation's art czardom, but they're wrong. 
Manhattan is. The cultural geography of the 
city is this: the four "outer boroughs" satellite 
around Manhattan's constellation of galleries, 
theaters, production houses, artists and pro- 
ducers. The residents of Staten Island, 
Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn are as much 
at a cultural distance from the stellar island as 
Iowa City. 

Video is no less Manhattan-centric than any 
other art form. And so Locus Communica- 
tions, one of Manhattan's several dozen media 
arts centers, has translated its concern for this 
localized form of cultural imperialism into an 
innovative exhibition project called Video in 
the Boroughs. Now in its second year, the pro- 
ject brings video programming to two sites in 
each of New York's four outer boroughs, giv- 
ing artists a chance to contact a new public. 

Locus executive director Gerry Pallor works 
with video programmers Wendy Chambers 
and Liz Garfield to assemble one-hour reels of 
video art and documentary. Locus transports 
the reels with Vi -inch VHS decks and monitors 
to the sites — unlikely public places such as La 
Guardia Airport and more traditional venues 
like the Bronx Museum. Most of these sites 
have never programmed video before; in some 
cases, such as the Fulton Street Shopping Mall 
and the Bronx Zoo, they have rarely hosted 
any kind of arts programming at all. Pallor 
points out that Video in the Boroughs is a 
"movable concept" — imagine video installa- 
tions on Main Streets all over America. The 
major studios have long recognized the place 
for media in shopping malls (witness the rise of 
such made-for-mall movies as Flashdance and 
Staying Alive), but it may take independents to 
invent a better alternative. 

I visited one site at the eclectic Fashion Moda 
gallery in the South Bronx, where graffiti great 
Futura 2000 had his start. (He is the subject of 
Dean Winkler's videotape, programmed there 
by Locus.) The monitor is set on a platform in 
front of the gallery's full-size window at an 
angle which offers a teasing glimpse of the on- 
screen action to people waiting for the bus out 
on the street. Although the screen tends to 
reflect Third Avenue's storefront skyline on 
top of the intended image, the monitor place- 
ment does attract passers-by into the gallery. 

During my entire visit, Fashion Moda 
regulars Rahman Brown and Richard Paz, 
students at nearby Clark Junior High School, 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 






Tomio Sasaki's Penguins, a "formal" presentation by 
Video in the Boroughs. 

A Site For 
Sore Eyes 

Video in the Boroughs offers 
a "movable concept" for custom- 
tailored video programs 
in unlikely places 

RENEE TAJIMA 



1 



tently watched the "From the Streets" reel 

5 with its double dutching (Skip Blumberg), rap- 

» ping and breaking (Bob Harris and Rii Kan- 

- zaki) and graffiti artistry (Dean Winkler), all 

aspects of South Bronx culture which have 

captured the imagination of growing ranks of 

film and videomakers. The program notes for 

the exhibition explained its philosophy: 

"Art is usually thought to belong to 
museums or cultural centers. Too often these 
institutions become marble mausoleums 
celebrating the work of dead artists. While we 
can certainly appreciate art that survives 
generations, it is equally important to consider 
and more difficult to evaluate work that is go- 
ing on all around us . . . We have life and art 
right out there on the streets. The tapes in this 
program capture street scenes, and by so do- 
ing, place them in a context that we may more 
easily recognize as artistic." 

Although they expressed it differently, 
Brown and Paz also responded to the life, and 
maybe art, of the street: 
"What do you like about the tapes?" 
"The graffiti and the double dutch." 
"Have you had a chance to see tapes like this 
before?" 

"Yeah, on TV. PM Magazine, 2 on the Town 
and the news." 

"How did you like those TV programs?" 
"They were really good." 

Or, as Fashion Moda co-director Sahara 
Belbeaux pointed out, "Art has to start 
somewhere." 

STEPPING-STONE TO CABLE? 

Sparking that kernel of interest is one of the 
project's ambitious long-range goals. Sarah 
Hornbacher, last year's Video in the Boroughs 
project director, explains: "It will serve as a 
'mico-model' for future efforts to extend on- 
site screenings of innovative independent work 
past the Manhattan boundaries. Local video/ 
cable activist Chuck Sherwood has suggested 
this model to the Media Alliance as a means of 
advocacy to establish bases in the boroughs for 
contact when issues of local interest cable fran- 
chising arise." 

Cable's still-expected arrival in the outer 
boroughs is directly connected with Locus' 
conception of the Video in the Boroughs pro- 
ject. Gerry Pallor has long been involved in the 
cable franchising process, and wanted to 
strengthen Locus' impact and presence ou side 
of Manhattan in anticipation of cable 1 ook- 

25 



THE INDEPENDENT 



ups. As Pallor figures it, "You have to developl 
a taste for alternative video — and the more ex- 1 
posed people are to independents, the more | 
they will demand from their local cable com- | 
panies." 

Pallor, Chambers and Garfield program the 
tapes in conjunction with local on-site coor- 
dinators. Pallor explains that "the concept is 
to custom-tailor the program by sites." 
Whereas Joan Engel and Gerald Saldo's docu- 
mentary on toxic wastes in Pennsylvania (No 
Immediate Danger) may prove too involved 
for a harried airport crowd, Mark Lindquist's 
fast-moving Subway could provide a good 
between-flights diversion. Last year, a video 
installation was programmed at the Newhouse 
Gallery in Snug Harbor, Staten Island as part 
of the "Path of Dreams" painting show, and 
the Bronx Zoo show next spring will include 
the zoo's own animal tapes which Locus will 
assist in editing. 

Locus personnel teaches the on-site staffs 
how to operate 19-inch color monitors and 
VHS playback decks, used because of their 
automatic rewind and timer capabilities. 
Technical problems are few, although the 
Locus staff is always on call to trouble-shoot. 
While I was interviewing Liz Garfield over the 
phone, Pallor was dealing in the background 
with a minor crisis at Fashion Moda: the equip- 
ment had lost its sound and picture. When I 
visited the gallery later that afternoon all was 
fine. I asked co-director Belbeaux if there were 
ever any technical problems with the show. 
"None," she replied with a calm smile. "Ab- 
solutely none." 

The one pervasive problem affecting most 
of the sites has been security. Loose decks and 
monitors look all too appealingly portable, 
and the project has experienced at least one 
theft. Some of the sites, particularly on-the- 
street shows, require the presence of a Locus 
intern-cum-guard, who also doubles as a 
market analyst gauging the response of the 
crowd. 

Videomakers I talked to were happy with 
both the handling of their works and the op- 
portunity to exhibit outside Manhattan. Bob 
Harris pointed out that he was particularly 
pleased that Locus paid exhibition fees, since 
shows in the outer boroughs are usually 
"freebies." 

LOCAL IS AS LOCAL DOES 

The degree of input from local coordinators 
varies. Joan Giummo curated the entire "Path 
of Dreams" show at the Newhouse Gallery, 
while Larry Springer of St. Anne's Church in 
Brooklyn said he didn't realize that he could 
have any input into programming. Sam Lee of 
the Jamaica Arts Center (JAC), located in a 
predominantly black section of Queens, prob- 
ably best exemplifies the Locus ideal of 
dialogue and cooperation with on-site coor- 
dinators; yet his experience with the project 
also speaks to basic problems with Video in the 
Boroughs which Locus has begun to address. 

JAC was a Video in the Boroughs site during 

26 




Redistributing the goods: Video in the Boroughs strives for community participation. 



the project's first year. Lee complained that 
"they didn't have any software that identified 
with the community: no black talent, no black 
themes, no black producers." Locus pro- 
grammed the same tapes at JAC that were 
shown at St. Anne's Church in the mostly 
white, upper-middle class Brooklyn Heights 
area. JAC's two directors deemed the program 
such a potential problem that they asked Lee to 
pull it. Lee, a video producer himself, saved the 
program by contributing two of his own 
pieces. 

As a result of last year's fiasco Lee has worked 
closely with Locus is developing this year's show 
"From the Streets," which focuses on black 
themes. At first Locus programmed tapes 
made entirely by white producers, with the ex- 
ception of Rii Kanzaki. Lee then added In Her 
Lifetime, a tape about Margaret Walker, a 
black poet in Queens, produced by local black 
producers Robert Watusi and Alan Buchanan. 
Said Lee, "I think there will have to be a special 
effort to solicit minority software if you want 
to build up a minority audience." 



TALENT SEARCH A MUST 

In this sense Video in the Boroughs may well 
perpetuate the dilemma it seeks to address . The 
programs have included a preponderance of 
video artists who are well-established on the 
Manhattan scene, very few of whom are mi- 
nority producers. Thus, Video in the Boroughs 
may be neglecting the most critical factor in 
building advocacy centers for cable arts 
programming. As producer Shalom Gorewitz 
pointed out, it will be up to the local arts 
centers and producers to make cable arts 
programming happen. Exhibition opportun- 
ities with audience and critical feedback are 
part and parcel of building local talent. Here 
the priorities of exhibitors, with their own 
tastes and standards of "quality," may con- 



flict with local community interests of owning 
and operating the tools of the media. 

Locus has moved positively in the direction 
of exhibiting local producers — a direct result 
of its commitment to soliciting input from the 
on-site coordinators. JAC's Lee sees it as a pro- 
cess of evolution. This year Locus began to 
program software that relates to his communi- 
ty, and he expects that next year it will increase 
programming of works by minority and local 
producers. A successful example of the 
symbiosis between exhibition and production 
which Lee hopes to achieve is Chinese Cable 
TV (CCTV), a group of immigrant media ar- 
tists in New York's Chinatown. In its early 
years, CCTV's production efforts were com- 
mendable but of uneven quality. However, the 
group fought hard for funding and exhibition 
access. The result? A center for skilled, 
community-based producers and an increas- 
ingly cable-sophisticated Chinese immigrant 
community. 

Locus' concept of video in public places is 
not entirely new. Image processing on Times 
Square and the Disarmanent Video Survey are 
two other New York examples. But Video in 
the Boroughs could also be considered an 
ongoing scientific experiment using eight con- 
trol sites every year. The working hypothesis: 
people will like video if they get a chance to see 
it; and a good way to reach them is to take video 
to popular gathering places. The variables for 
program and site selection: audience demog- 
raphy, the nature of the site, equipment re- 
quirements, the movement of the crowd, the 
environment, etc. The evaluation criterion: 
what works versus what doesn't. As Locus 
continues to test the video programs against 
each variable it may well stumble on some very 
useful formulas for public exhibition . ■ 

Renee Tajima is former administrative 
director of Asian Cine- Vision and editor of 
Bridge Magazine. In October she joined the 
staff of The Independent. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



(f 



SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY 

Theatrical Distribution 
in the South 



^ 



// you 're interested in taking your film to 
theaters open to independent work in the South, 
the accompanying box contains addresses largely 
drawn from a list compiled by the Coalition of 
Souther Media Organizations (COSMO) directory 
published in 1981 (and now being updated), 
Susan Leonard, and other sources. See article 
page 16. 



%: 



ALABAMA 

Alabama Filmmakers Co-op 
433 Chicksaw Dr. 
Huntsville, AL 35801 



FLORIDA 

Cinema Tec 
2335 Alcazar Ave. 
Coral Gables, FL 33134 

The Grove Cinema 
3199 Grand Ave. 
Cocoanul Grove, FL 33133 

The Manor Art Cinema 

144 NE 26th St. 

Fort Lauderdale. FL 33305 

Edison Theatre 

1533 Hendry 

Fort Myers, FL 33901 



Diane Eberly 
Tampa Theatre 
PO Box 331 2 
Tampa, FL 33601 

GEORGIA 

The Film Forum 

1514 Piedmont Ave., NE 

Atlanta, GA 30324 

IMAGE 

972 Peachtree St. , Suite 213 

Atlanta, GA 30309 

N. I. T. E. Association of 
Independent Theater Exhitors 
399 Pinecrest Rd. , NE 
Atlanta. GA 30392 

Rhodes Theater 

11 A. S. Rhode Center, NW 

Atlanta, GA 30309 



The Screening Room and 
Broadview Plaza Center 
Piedmont Rd. 
Atlanta, GA 30324 

Garberville Theater 
PO Box 306 
Garberville, GA 35440 

KENTUCKY 

Appalshop 

Box 743 

Whitesburg, KY 41858 

LOUISIANA 

Film Buffs Institute 
Loyola University 
6363 St. Charles Lane 
New Orleans, LA 70118 

Prytania Theatre 
5339 Prytania St. 
New Orleans, LA 70115 

NORTH CAROLINA 

Visulite Theater 
1615 Elizabeth Ave. 
Charlotte, NC 28204 

Carolina Theatre 
PO Box 57 
Durham, NC 27702 

Janus Theatres, Inc. 
1416NorthwoodSt. 
Greensboro, NC 27408 



SOUTH CAROLINA 

University Student Programs 
ATT: Sue Metzger 
Room 418, Administrative Bldg 
Medical University of SC 
171 Ashley Ave. 
Charleston, SC 29425 

Nickelodeon/Columbia Film Society 
937 Main St. 
Columbia, SC 29201 

Russell House University Union 
c/o Cinematic Arts Committee 
PO Box 85141 
Columbia, Sc 29208 



TENNESSEE 

Clarence Brown Theatre 
Student Activities Office -305 
University of TN 
Knoxville, TN 37916 

Center for Southern Folklore 
Judy Peiser 
PO Box 401 05 
1216 Peabody 
Memphis, TN 38104 

Memphian Theatre 
51 South Cooper 
Memphis, TN 38104 

Old Daisy Theater 
329 Beale St. 
Memphis, TN 38103 



Orpheum Theatre 

Memphis Development Foundation 

PO Box 387 

Memphis, TN 38103 

Nashville Film Society 
2202 Oakland Ave. 
Nashville, TN 37202 

TEXAS 

Greenway Three 
5 Greenway Plaza 
Houston, TX 77046 

River Oaks Classic 
Repertory Theater 
2009 West Gray 
Houston, TX 77019 

Rice University Media Center 

PO Box 1892 

Houston, TX 77001 (Mailing) 



VIRGINIA 

Vinegar Hill Theatre 
220 West Market St. 
PO Box 642 
Charlottesville, VA 22901 

Biograph Theater 
814 West Grace 
Richmond. VA 23220 

Williamsburg Theatre 
Duke of Gloucester St. 
Williamsburg, VA 23185 



J 



SUMMARY OF AIVF MINUTES 



The AIVF'FIVF Boards met on 
11/3/83. Present: Dara Birnbaum, Pearl 
Bowser, Matt Clarke, Yuet-Fung Ho, Peter 
Kinoy, Wendy Lidell, Howard Petrick, 
Larry Sapadin, Mary Guzzy. Temporary 
chair: Peter Kinoy. No quorum present, no 
votes taken. 

AGENDA: a. Disposition of platform on 
CPB (pertaining to the hearings in San 
Francisco) b. Proposed addition to board 
of persons representing video community. 

NEW BUSINESS: Wendy Lidell handed 
out a memo on HR 4103 (the Wirth Cable 
Bill) and asked the Board to assist in a na- 
tionwide phone tree urging the independent 
community to write and call Washington 
regarding the proposed cable legislation. 
AIVF's position supports the bill in theory 
but feels that certain crucial amendments 
are necessary to make it fair and equitable. 

CPB RESOLUTION: The resolution con- 
cerning CPB funding of independents 
drawn up by the Advocacy Committee for 
presentation at the West Coast hearings on 
CPB 1 1/10/83 was discussed. The advan- 
tages and potential pitfalls of creating a 
separate pool of money for independent 
production isolated from the CPB Pro- 
gram Fund staff were discussed. 



Kinoy summed up the major questions to 
be answered in a finalized version of the 
resolution to be drafted in a future Ad- 
vocacy Committee meeting: What insures 
democratic process in choosing what is 
representative of the independent com- 
munity, and how does the community pre- 
vent an "old boy network" from develop- 
ing within the proposed new structure? Will 
the proposed committee choose program- 
ming concepts as well as projects and insure 
diversity? 

Sapadin stated that the main purpose of 
the draft resolution was to build a degree of 
accountability into CPB Program Fund al- 
location. Once the resolution is finalized, 
based on members' reaction at the San 
Francisco hearings and on mailing to mem- 
bers, a "two-pronged assault" will be launched 
to mobilize the independent community in 
favor of the position: 1 ) legislative develop- 
ment and 2) grass-roots organization of the 
membership. It was noted that the CPB 
statute ends July 30, 1984 and CPB will be 
asking Congress for more money soon so it 
is therefore important to begin building a 
political coalition for action. 

A special Dec. board meeting was pro- 
posed to hammer out the finalized resolu- 
tion and an explanation. Kinoy also sug- 



gested a recap of the California hearings 
and further development of the East Coast 
independent position so that what happened 
at the NY hearings would not be repeated.. 
VIDEO REPRESENTATION: Sapadin 
called for a consensus on the idea that there 
is a weakness in the representation of video 
artists at the board level. Suggestions of 
possible appointees to the board which 
would remedy this problem were raised. 
Dara Birnbaum, Martha Rosier, Mary 
Lucier and Bob Harris were suggested. 

Kinoy raised the issue that some current 
board members had become non-function- 
al through lack of attendance at meetings. 
The "three absences" rule was cited. 
However, Matt Clarke pointed out this was 
a separate issue from the necessity for more 
board representation from videomakers, 
and it was agreed that biographies and fur- 
ther feedback from the video community 
would be obtained by Sapadin pending action 
at a future meeting. ■ 



The next Board meeting will he held in 
January at AIVF (625 Broadwc/v, 9th floor, 
NY NY 10012. 212/473-3400): call for 
precise date and details. Meetings are open 
to the public. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



27 



Shipshape Shipping 

FIVF's new guide clears up the mystery of 
how to ship your films/tapes abroad — and get 
them back again! Examples from 6 countries 
show how long it takes, costs, customs re- 
quirement. The handbook also compares US 
Postal Service with private air freight. $3 pe r 
copy plus $1 postage/handling. 



THE INDEPENDENT 



FESTIVALS 



(continued from p. 17) 

creating "target films" which address the ex- 
periences of their local audiences and then 
screening the work widely in those com- 
munities. These three are probably the 
"elders" of the "regional films for regional au- 
diences" movement in the South. Judy Peiser, 
director of the Center for Southern Folklore, 
says it will run the Old Daisy Theater on Mem- 
phis' renovated Beale Street, starting in 1984. 
The group, Peiser recounts, managed to get 
the theater from the city only by "the luck of 
the Irish," and plans to include screenings of 
independent work in its cultural programming 
there. The Old Daisy is the only movie theater 
in downtown Memphis. 

Victor Nunez' dream is to create the film 
equivalent of the heyday of Southern short 
story writers during the 1 950s. In traveling with 
Gal Young 'Un around Florida he learned that 
"people love seeing their familiar ter- 
rain — those alternative images of themselves — 
affirmed on film." Southern independents, 
the major source of those alternative images, 
are beginning to find ways to realize Nunez' 
dream. ■ 

(continued from p. 22) 

dependents is different. It's much easier to say, 
'It's not our problem.' But it /sour problem." 
Silber agreed, "The last thing a filmmaker 
wants is that responsibility. But you are taking 
on that responsibility." 

But Silber added that he believes "people do 
know the risk. They might not have a sophisti- 
cated view of the world. But they are very con- 
scious of what it means to talk — not just to a 
camera, but to talk, period. There are lots of 
ears down there [Central America]. You can 
get killed for a lot less than talking." And 
Lucas recalled that the Guatemalan Indians 
living in Mexico, although illiterate, grasped 
the media's importance: "They are pretty well- 
informed. Every camp has one or two tran- 
sistor radios. They listen to broadcasts from 
the Voice of America, the FMLN, Cuban, 
Mexican, Guatemalan stations. They compare 
the news from both sides. They know the situa- 
tion. And they're angry." 

Ultimately, then, an intelligent and protec- 
tive use of sources requires political sophistica- 
tion, established credibility, sharpened wits, 
good contacts — and great doses of luck and 
faith. Even then, there are no guarantees for 
either filmmaker or subject. Obviously, 
however, many people think the risk is worth- 
while — and certainly not the only one they will 
take. Recalling a scene in his film of mourners 
flocking with raised fists to a mass funeral for 
five murdered opposition leaders, Silber said, 
"I wonder if Americans appreciate how many 
people, in that one scene, risked their lives to 
honor their leaders. I'd like to see that kind of 
courage here in supporting those people. " ■ 
20 



Not Quite a Field Day 
at France's Epernay 



Susan Linfield 

The Mostra du film d 'Epernay is a new fes- 
tival, held for the first time last April in the 
provincial town of Epernay, France. Organized 
by the Leo Lagrange society, a cultural off- 
shoot of the Socialist Party, it is part of the Mit- 
terand government's attempt to decentralize 
culture from the Parisian center to the smaller 
cities. Epernay is, in fact, a nice little town of 
about 30,000 whose main industry is cham- 
pagne — cheap and delicious. 

The festival's motto is "la vie dans tous ses 
etats" — that is, "life in all its forms." Its em- 
phasis is clearly on films dealing with social, 
political, and human problems, although it 
shuns traditional documentaries, very political 
films and anything "newsy" in favor of 
docudramas and narratives. At best, its selec- 
tion could be characterized as offbeat and 
eclectic; at worst, unfocused and puzzling. 
Last year's US entries (almost all of which were 
screened at the 1 982 IFP Market) included The 
Two Worlds ofAngelita (Jane Morrison), Out 
(Eli Hollander), Dialogue with a Woman 
Departed (Leo Hurwitz), Alexyz (Dan Richter 
and Elizabeth Converse), Mission /////(Robert 
Jones) and Rape/Crisis (Gary McDonald), 
which won the top prize. There was also a 
retrospective of Robert Kramer films. Emile de 
Antonio and Gary Crowdus were among the 
judges. 

Unfortunately, the festival had several 
serious problems, many due to poor organi- 
zation. The "decentralization of culture" 
meant, in practice, extremely sparse audiences 
for most screenings. Very few distributors at- 
tended; this is not, in general, a place to make 
deals or sales. The Parisian press ignored the 
event for the most part (except for pieces on 
certain luminaries like Hurwitz). Voiceover 
translations into French were not arranged in 
advance (nor were subtitles), leaving many 
filmmakers to scurry frantically around on the 
day of their screening looking for translators. 
At least one film, Eric Breitbart's Clockwork, 
never made it out of customs and was lost by 
the festival. Discussions rarely followed 
screenings. And perhaps most seriously, upon 
arrival in France all the Americans were told 
that their films had been pulled from the com- 
petition; they were restored only after loud 
protests. 

On the other hand, the festival had a friendly 
and informal atmosphere, and its organizers 
seemed to genuinely try to accommodate the 
needs of the visiting filmmakers. AIVF head 
Lawrence Sapadin, who attended the festival, 



added, "It was exciting to be with a group of 
people from different countries who were all 
interested in making and seeing socially- 
oriented films." Gary McDonald said that, as 
a direct result of the festival, his film was 
picked up for distribution by Cinema Guild 
(one of the few distributors present as its head, 
Gary Crowdus, was a juror). However, Mc- 
Donald said that the festival organizers never 
carried through on their promise of French 
distribution for his film, nor even acknowl- 
edged the receipt of the dubbed cassettes he 
sent them at their request. 

The festival pays round-trip airfare to Paris, 
transfers between Paris and Epernay and hotel 
accommodations, which are modest but pleas- 
ant. Meals are not provided, but the town is 
full of good restaurants. This year the festival 
will be held in March. Contact: Jean-Louis 
Manceau, Mostra du film d'Epernay, 42 rue du 
Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris, France. 



Cannes Opener 

If you can make it here, you can make it 
anywhere. The Cannes Film Festival will take 
place this year from May 11-23 and shows 
feature films only. Indies have been sparingly 
admitted to the Official Competition, but ex- 
ceptions have included David Holtzman's 
Diary by Jim McBride, Smithereens by Susan 
Seidelman and A Toute Allure by Robert 
Kramer, an American expatriot living and 
working in Paris. The Critic's Week has been 
somewhat more receptive, and has given 
awards to both Northern Lights (Rob Nilsson 
and John Hanson) and The Scenic Route 
(Mark Rappaport) in past years. 

According to the French Film Office in New 
York, the best way to enter Cannes is to write a 
letter to the section(s) you consider appro- 
priate and carbon copy that letter to Catherine 
Verret at the French Film Office, 745 Fifth 
Avenue, NY NY 10151 (tel. 212/382-8860). 
Official Section director Gilles Jacob and Di- 
rector's Fortnight director Pierre-Henri 
Deleau travel extensively seeking films. Their 
itineraries may be obtained by contacting the 
French Film Office in January or February; or 
if, on the basis of your letter, the festival is in- 
terested in your film, the office will contact 
you. The selection screenings must be arranged 
at the producer's expense, and you should un- 
derstand that effective participation at Cannes 
may involve some hefty expenses like 35mm 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY i984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



blow-ups, travel, subtitling and promotion. 
Entries to the Critics' Week must be sent 
directly to Paris. 

The selections for each section take place 
completely separately, but all of them except 
the Market require that your Cannes screening 
be a European premiere. There is an excellent 
booklet available from the French Film Office 
which describes the various sections of the 
festival. They are noted here in brief: 
The Official Section: 

In Competition — shorts and features less 
than 12monthsold, released only in country of 
origin and not entered in any other festivals. 

Out-of-Competition — features invited by 
the jury. 

A Certain Look — features selected but not 
eligible for competition. 

To enter, contact: Gilles Jacob, Director, 
Festival Int'l du Films, 71 rue Faubourg Saint 
Honore, 75008 Paris, France by Mar. 1 . 
Critics' Week: 

Non-competitive section of seven films 
selected by members of the French Cinema 
Critics Association. They must be director's 
first or second feature, less than two years old, 
and not entered in any major European festi- 
val. Enter by Mar. 1. Contact: Robert Chaial 
or Janine Sartre, Critics' Week, 73 rue d'An- 
jou, 75008 Paris, France. Association member 
Jacqueline Lajeunnesse expressed special in- 
terest in American independent features. She 
can be reached at 21 rue des Plantes, 75014 
Paris, France. 
Director's Fortnight: 

The Association of French Film Directors 
presents 25 features, documentaries and 
animated films during the festival. Contact: 
Pierre-Henri Deleau, Exec. Director, Societe 
des Realisateurs de Films, 2 1 5 rue du Faubourg 
St. Honore, 75008 Paris, France. 
The Film Market: 

Run concurrently with the festival, the 
Market is administered separately. Your film 
may not have been shown at MIFED nor be 
over one year old. All formats can be screened 
inexpensively. Enter through early April. Con- 
tact: Robert Chabert, Film Market at the Of- 
ficial Section address above. — Wendy Lidell 



USA in Dallas Offers 
Drive-in Showcase 

The 14th USA Film Festival will take place 
March 23-31, although it also presents year- 
round programs and events like the First Na- 
tional Drive-In Film Festival. Thus far, plans 
for the 1984 festival include a gala tribute 
honoring a major screen artist, a film history 
course and seminars on how to watch movies 
and the business of creativity. 

The 1983 USA Film Festival was jammed 
with films, seminars and retrospectives. John 
Badham spoke at a seminar prior to screening 
his film Blue Thunder. A Best of Texas 
Showcase followed along wit h a seminar on t he 
future of Dallas film and video, which ran con- 
currently with a John Cassavetes retrospec- 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 19B4 



tive. Cult followers were then treated to the 
midnight premiere of The Big Meat Eater. 
George Nierenberg's Say Amen Somebody 
played to a standing room only crowd. Lina 
Shanklin's Summerspell and Robert Jones' 
Mission /////premiered as part of the Discovery 
Series. A seminar on the film critic as star pre- 
ceded tribute screenings of Oklahoma! and the 
films of Anne Francis. A discussion on filming 
in Texas featured the makers of Tender Mer- 
cies and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. Re- 
creating Times Past, a seminar with the direc- 
tors of Purple Haze and Wicked Lady, pre- 
ceded screenings of both of these films, along 
with Geoff Murphy's Goodbye Pork Pie, 
another Discovery Premiere. The Discovery 
Series also included Michael Donovan's Siege, 
David Fishelson and Zoe Zinman's City News, 
Mitchell Johnson's Moses Pendleton Presents 
Moses Pendleton and Lorenzo Destefano's 
Talmage Farlow. A special screening of new, 




Gary McDonald's Rape/Crisis took the top prize at 
Epernay Fest. 

original programming being developed by 
Home Box Office and a seminar on HBO and 
the future of pay TV paved the way for The 
Terry Fox Story, HBO's first made-for-pay- 
TV feature. 

Pam Proctor, assistant festival director, 
boasts of daily attention by the Dallas Times 
Herald and Morning News in addition to front 
page coverage in Sunday arts sections and 
"tons" of advance publicity. The 600-seat In- 
wood Theater houses USA, bringing in as 
many as 800 people over nine days. 

USA showcases Hollywood and indepen- 
dent films through "Premiere" and "Dis- 
covery" sections. No forms are required; in- 
terested producers should write to fest and 
send Vi " video or 16 or 35mm print for 
preview. The Best of Texas Showcase presents 
work produced by Texas-based companies or 
film/video professionals. Categories are 
entertainment, informational, animation, 
commercials and documentary; fee is $25. 



The National Short Film/Video Competi- 
tion awards excellence in the creative and im- 
aginative use of the short film and video 
form — fiction and non-fiction, live action or 
animated. Works are judged by a panel of na- 
tionally known professionals who emphasize 
originality in concept, style and technical ex- 
ecution. Like Best of Texas, work should be 
sent in Va "video or 16 or 35mm film; fee is $25. 
Awards for the Short Film Competition range 
from $250-$750; first place winner will be 
flown to Dallas for the awards presentation. In 
1983, shortly after winner Bob Rogers went to 
Dallas to receive the award for his film Ballet 
Robotique, he jetted to Los Angeles to receive 
an Academy Award for his work. 

Deadline: Feb. 25. Contact: Sam Grogg or 
Pam Proctor, 3000 Carlisle, Suite 205, Dallas 
TX75204; (214)760-8575. —Melody Pariser 



Peaches & Smithereens at 
Atlanta Film & Video 

The Atlanta Film and Video Festival will 
celebrate its eighth season in April 1984. 
Although still young, it has grown rapidly over 
the years. Zoe Zinman, whose film City News 
won the $500 WXIA Channel 1 1 Award for 
Outstanding Dramatic Film last year, gently 
explained that the organizers were very nice 
but the festival definitely needs to put a greater 
emphasis on publicity. Both Zinman and her 
partner David Fishelson were guests of the 
festival and were well treated, but she said that 
they were disappointed that their film was not 
reviewed. 

One film with an abundance of press at the 
festival was Susan Seidelman's Smithereens, 
the opening night entry, which like its 
predecessors had a subsequent run in Atlanta. 
The film was introduced by Smithereen 's stars 
Susan Berman and Richard Hell; a reception 
was held following the film. 

1983 was the inaugural year of the Chatham 
Valley Foundation Purchase Awards for Out- 
standing Southern Works at the festival. 
Possum O 'Possum (Greg Killmaster), Nellie's 
Playhouse (Linda Armstrong) and Aqui se lo 
halla (Lee Sokol) split $1000. Sokol, whose 
film also won the $1000 free rental or in-kind 
services Lighting and Production Equipment 
Award for Technical Excellence, expressed her 
feeling that "this particular festival will con- 
tinue to grow. The scope becomes broader as 
administrators learn more and more. It's an 
important southern festival searching for ideas 
that will bring distributors to it." She added, 
"I was most impressed with the festival's in- 
tegrity. They make an effort to be fair and con- 
sider all different genres of filmmaking. When 
people say things, they get done." 

Both Sokol and Zinman agreed that a major 
plus of the festival was the fact that Edinburgh 
director Jim Hickey was one of the judges, and 
their films were immediately accepted into the 
Edinburgh Festival. 

Cash awards for video totaled $2 1 00 in 1 98 \ : 
film awards were $3100. The 1984 event will 

29 



THE INDEPENDENT 



take place April 6-14; deadline is Feb. 17. 
Work accepted in S-8 and 16mm; video in Vi or 
Va " BETA or VHS. Only requirement is that 
films be independent. Fees range from 
$10-$35. Contact: Linda Dubler, Image Film 
and Video, 972 Peachtree St., Suite213, Atlan- 
ta G A 30309, (404) 874-4756 —MP 



Festivals Down Under 
Melbourne & Sydney 

Getting your film shown in Melbourne or 
Sydney, the New York and Los Angeles of the 
Australian film industry, means having the op- 
portunity to present it to most of that country's 
film distributors and TV buyers. The majority 
of Australia's film professionals attend one or 
the other of these two major festivals in cities 
only 450 miles apart. Australia has a fairly 
well-developed non-theatrical distribution cir- 
cuit based in regional film libraries, and televi- 
sion channel "0/28" has bought a number of | 
American independent films in the past. So f 
while it is not a cure-all, Australia can become a I 
source of additional revenue for the indepen- £ 
dent trying to make ends meet. 

Melbourne and Sydney share about a third 8 
of the films in their programs, and they will 
sometimes share the travel costs of feature 
filmmakers. Both festivals are reportedly very 
well-organized and help you meet people and 
do business by providing screening facilities 
and central meeting places. 

Melbourne, which takes place in early June, 
has a short film competition which awards 
cash prizes for shorts up to 30 minutes. There 
are also official and information sections for 
documentaries up to 60 minutes and feature 
films in 16 and 35mm. Sydney follows Mel- 
bourne, overlapping it by about a week. It also 
programs shorts, documentaries and features. 

Both festivals have been very receptive to 
American independents, and although both 
festival directors travel to European festivals 
to scout new films, they also welcome direct en- 
tries. Last year, FIVF sent a shipment of films 
to Australia, but due to changes in the festival 
administrations, this will not be repeated in 
1984. Air parcel post to Australia takes about 
10 days and costs about $36 for a 10-lb. 
package. (For more information on overseas 
shipping, see FIVF's new publication Ship- 
Shape Shipping.) Contact: Rod Webb, Direc- 
tor, Sydney Film Festival, Box 4934 GPO, 
Sydney NSW 20001, Australia; tel: 660-3909; 
telex: AA22969. Deadline: April. To enter 
Melbourne, contact: Director, Melbourne 
Film Festival, 53 Cardigan Street, P.O. Box 
357, Carlton South, Victoria 3053, Australia; 
tel: (03) 347-4828; telex: AA31624. Deadline: 
Feb. 28. — WL 

Zagreb: The Grand Prix 
Of Animation Festivals 

According to David Ehrlich, a US animator 
who attended Zagreb last year, the festival's at- 
mosphere is "extremely warm and friendly to 
visitors. It's a place for filmmakers to get to- 
30 



gether and communicate." But, he noted, 
there was not a great emphasis on business at 
Zagreb. 

This year, Charles Samu, HBO's director of 
acquisitions, will send a collective shipment of 
US films to the festival. He believes Zagreb is 
"one of the best animation festivals in the 
world," adding, "When someone wins, it's 
internationally noticed." 

Winning entries in 1982 (Zagreb takes place 
every two years) included Hug Me (Sam Weiss, 
USA), Opens Wednesday (Barrie Nelson, 
USA), A Hard Passage (Dennis Pies, USA), 
"E" (Bretislav Pojar, Canada), Pig Bird 
(Richard Condie, Canada), Luna Luna Luna 
(Viviane Elnecave, Canada), Way to Your 
Neighbor (Neddjko Dragic, Yugoslavia), The 
Lost World(A.r\tu Kari and Jukka Ruojomaki, 
Finland), Take It Easy (Tamas Baksa, 
Hungary) and Arena (Zoltan Szilagy, 
Romania). 




Getting to know you: Zagreb has a reputation for 
friendliness, and Sam Weiss' Hug Me was a winner. 

Another quality aspect of Zagreb is the con- 
stant communication between the event and 
interested parties through the publication of 
bulletins throughout the year. They also 
publish daily during the festival. The publica- 
tion announcing 1982 winners explained why 
no Grand Prix was awarded: "Despite the fact 
that a number of excellent films were seen 
which had impressive qualities of either 
meaningful content or new forms, not one 
could be singled out which combined these 
qualities so as to merit the high distinction of a 
Zagreb Grand Prix. By doing this the jury 
wishes to encourage filmmakers to aspire to a 
deeper commitment to the marriage of mean- 
ingful content and new forms, and to the 
recognition of appropriate pacing and con- 
ciseness of expression." 

Besides four programs of films in competi- 
tion and three of films not in competition, 
there will also be these special events in 1984: 
retrospectives on early Russian animation, 
Paul Driessin's work, the work of Zoran 
Perisic ( 1 978 Oscar-winner for special effects), 
animated erotica; and US animated commer- 
cials. A program of prize-winning films from 
Ottawa '82, Annecy '83 and Varna '83 will be 
screened, as well as promotion of new books 
on animation published during the two years 
since Zagreb '82. Several screenings of student 



films are expected, as well as roundtable dis- 
cussions of eroticism in animated films, 
violence in animated films and animation film 
schools. 

Video-Bulletin, a closed circuit TV system 
which will be airing continuously throughout 
the festival will transmit direct festival screen- 
ings, information, teletexts, promotional 
spots and interviews. Animarket '84, Zagreb's 
animated film market, will provide on request 
translators, stenographer/typists, video- 
recorder operators and other services to 
enhance business talk, meetings and, hopeful- 
ly, sales. 

Films entered for competition should be in 
16mm or 35mm; V* " tape for video and com- 
puter animation. Work should not exceed 30 
minutes, must have been completed after July 
1, 1982, and not have been awarded official 
jury prizes at Annecy or Varna '83 . Categories: 
films under 5 min., films 5-1 2 min., films 12-30 
min., educational films, films for children and 
first film (directorial debut). Zagreb's deadline 
is March 1 5 , but the deadline to send films with 
Charles Samu's shipment is March 1. There is 
no fee: filmmaker pays transit costs to Yugo- 
slavia. Filmmakers can get forms from Charles 
Samu at 1318 Fulton St., Rahway NJ 07065; 
(212)484-1338. To contact Zagreb directly: 6th 
World Festival of Animated Films, Nova Ves 
18, 4100 Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Attn: Jura 
Saban, Organizing Director; tel: 041/276-636, 
271-355. — MPM 



IN BRIEF 



This month's additional festivals have been 
compiled by Melody Pariser and Wendy 
Udell with the help of Gadney's Guides and 
FIVF files. Listings do not constitute an en- 
dorsement, and since some details change 
faster than we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If your ex- 
perience with a given festival differs from our 
account, please let us know so that we can 
improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

• ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL, Mar 6-11, has 

for 22 years "promoted film as art." Fest director 
Ruth Bradley explained "the festival has longevity 
because we really keep it simple." She added that 
each year it raises about $5000 for prizes from the 
community. 1983 recipient of $1000 Tom Berman 
Award, presented to the most promising filmmaker, 
was animator Emily Hubley. 16mm only. Entry fee: 
$15. Deadline: Feb 24. Contact: Ruth Bradley, PO 
Box 7283, Ann Arbor MI 48107; (313) 663-6494. 

• ASIAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL, June, 
showcases Asian American films and filmmakers 
through a non-competitive collective perspective of 
Asian American aesthetics and principles. After 
fest, films tour 8 cities, paid according to length. 16 
or 35mm sought/no fee. Deadline: Feb 15. Contact: 
Peter Chow, Asian Cinevision, 32 East Broadway. 
New York NY 10002; (212) 925-8685. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



• ATHENS INT'L FILM AND VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL, April 20-28. Dedicated exclusively to in- 
dependent production and held in a university en- 
vironment, Athens is a great place to share your 
work with film and video lovers. Over 500 works are 
screened during the week-long fest, and numerous 
small awards of cash and equipment are presented in 
many categories. Films are invited in 35, 16, and 
Super-8 in categories of animation, documentary, 
experimental, short story and dramatic feature. 
Video should be sent in 3 A " U-Matic, or Vi " Beta or 
VHS. Categories include video art, narrative, 
educational, documentary and video record. 

Entries surviving pre-screening are screened 
publicly in the town's two main movie theaters and 
video centers. Although daytime screenings are not 
very well-attended, those held in the evening are 
packed. Nor surprisingly, popular genres like 
features, comedy shorts and rock video are sched- 
uled for those times. The awards presentation 
ceremonies are cablecast live on Athens City Cable 
and include the showing of shorter winning works. 

Last year's Golden Athena winners were Mission 
Hill by Bob Jones (feature), Rape/Crisis by Gary 
McDonald (documentary feature), Leon's Case by 
Daniel Attias (short story), Crac! by Frederic Back 
(animation), Secondary Currents by Peter Rose (ex- 
perimental), The Big Lever by Frances Morton 
(documentary), The Last To Know by Bonnie Fried- 
man (educational) and Adjust Focus by Jennifer 
Kingry (Super-8). (The video festival was not held 
last year.) Separate juries judge each category, and 
judges are brought in from across the country. Writ- 
ten critical feedback is offered to all producers. The 
theme for 1984 is "Alternatives to Hollywood" and 
will be highlighted by workshops, panels, presenta- 
tions and premieres. Entry fees range from $15 to 
$60 and entries are due by Feb. 15. Contact: Emily 
Calmer, Film Fest Director or David Burke, Video 
Fest Director, Athens Center for Film and Video, 
PO Box 388, Athens OH 45701 ; (614) 594-6888. 

• DANCE-ON-CAMERA '84, April 23, 24, 26, 28, 
presents the latest in dance and mime film and video 
at the Donnell Library in NYC. Forms, fees and en- 
try due by Jan 1 5 . The deadline has been graciously 
extended to Feb 1 for AIVF members. Fees range 
from $15-$35 for 16mm or 3 A " videocassette. Con- 
tact: Susan Berman, Dance Films Association, 241 
E. 34th St, Rm 301, NY NY 10016; (212) 686-7019. 

• DANIEL WADS WORTH MEMORIAL VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, Apr 20-28, seeks to interest audiences 
in video as a medium by installing video art in com- 
munity locations. Prizes range from $50-$500. 3 A " 
only. Entry fee: $10 per tape. Deadline: Feb 1 . Con- 
tact: Ruth Miller, Art Ways, Box 1 3 1 3, Hartford CT 
06103; (203) 525-5521/2. 

• GAVEL AWARDS, Aug 6, attempts to foster 
greater public understanding of the inherent values 
of the American legal and judicial system. Silver 
gavels presented to work in 3 A " videocassette (film 
must be converted). No fee. Deadline: Feb 1. Con- 
tact: Mary Waller or Margaret Reilly, American Bar 
Association, Gavel Awards Competition, 33 W. 
Monroe St, 7th fl, Chicago IL 60603; (212) 
621-1706/1730. 

• HEALTH JOURNALISM A WARDS, June 
20-23, presents media on the subject of advance- 
ments in health care and the practice of good health 
habits. Five major categories — newspapers, con- 
sumer magazines, TV, radio and trade, professional 
or special interest publications and audiovisuals 
— are broken down into massive subdivisions, pro- 
viding each winner with $200 and the ACA Dis- 
JANUARYIFEBRUARY 1984 



tinguished Journalism Award. Submit 1 6mm film or 
3 A " videocassette. No fee. Deadline: Mar l. Con- 
tact: Public Affairs Director, Journalism Awards 
Committee, American Chiropractic Association, 
1916 Wilson Blvd. Arlington VA 22201; (703) 
276-8800. 

• HOMETOWN USA VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 
19— 21 , highlights work of community access cable 
producers around the country in addition to local 
cable programmers. Winners are shown on cable 
stations across the country during the next 2 years 
and are paid royalties. 3 A " only. Entry fees: staff- 
produced tapes: $20; volunteer-produced tapes: 
$15. Deadline: March 31. Contact: Joan Gudgel or 
Sue Buske, NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania Ave SE, 
Washington DC 20003; (202) 544-7272. 

• GA VEL A WARDS, Aug 6, attempts to foster 
greater public understanding of the inherent values 
of the American legal and judicial system. Silver 
gavels presented to work in 3 A " videocassette (film 
must be converted). No fee. Deadline: Feb 1. Con- 




Maxi Cohen's Cape May: End of the Season won a prize 
at Videos horts. 

tact: Mary Waller or Margaret Reilly, American Bar 
Association, Gavel Awards Competition, 33 W. 
Monroe St, 7th fl, Chicago IL 60603; (212) 
621-1706/1730. 

• HEALTH JOURNALISM AWARDS, June 
20-23, presents media on the subject of advance- 
ments in health care and the practice of good health 
habits. Five major categories — newspapers, con- 
sumer magazines, TV, radio and trade, professional 
or special interest publications and audiovisuals 
— are broken down into massive subdivisions, pro- 
viding each winner with $200 and the ACA Dis- 
tinguished Journalism Award. Submit 16mm film or 
3 A " videocassette. No fee. Deadline: Mar 1. Con- 
tact: Public Affairs Director, Journalism Awards 
Committee, American Chiropractic Association, 
1916 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22201; (703) 
276-8800. 

• HOMETOWN USA VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 
19-21, highlights work of community access cable 
producers around the country in addition to local 
cable programmers. Winners are shown on cable 
stations across the country during the next 2 years 
and are paid royalties. 3 A " only. Entry fees: staff- 
produced tapes: $20; volunteer-produced tapes: 
$15. Deadline: March 31. Contact: Joan Gudgel or 
Sue Buske, NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania Ave SE, 
Washington DC 20003; (202) 544-7272. 

• HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, April. The problem with festivals that have a 
notoriously bad reputation is that they get more at- 
tention than they deserve due to the barrage of film- 



makers, writers and organizations eager to discover 
and report. The Houston International Film Fest- 
ival, slated for April 20-29, is apparently one of 
these. The Independent previously reported on 
prizes never awarded and filmmakers forced to pay 
to attend the awards dinner. This past year, another 
member wrote to complain about seminars, work- 
shops and receptions that didn't live up to their 
publicity. 

On the phone, festival director J. Hunter Todd 
sounds like a walking Emily Post manual, constant- 
ly emphasizing that "we want to run a very fair and 
honest festival that recognizes good film and TV and 
will help people in their careers." He seemed to 
especially like repeating the story of how a 20-year- 
old Steven Spielberg captured first prize for a short 
film entitled A mblin ', enabling him to make a major 
Hollywood connection. 

1983 best feature was Wim Wenders' Hammett, 
best documentary was Les Blank's Burden of 
Dreams and best experimental short Bob Rogers' 
Ballet Robolique, which went on to win an Academy 
Award . Independent films vie for cash awards of up 
to $1000. Student entries receivecash grants and/or 
equipment. "Gold Star" presented to victors in 
endless categories. 16or35mmand 3 A "video prefer- 
red; Vi " or 1 " is OK; S-8 transferred to tape accept- 
able. Entry fees range from $3-$50. Deadline: 
March 15. Contact: J. Hunter Todd, PO Box 56566, 
Houston TX 77256; (713) 780-8819. 

• MONITOR AWARDS, June, stimulates excellence 
of creativity and craftsmanship within the videotape 
production industry by presenting plaques from the 
Videotape Production Association at a gala awards 
dinner. Event is a nat'l competition and has 
numerous categories. 3 A "only. Entry fees: $50-$75 
commercials/$75-$ 120 programming. Deadline: 
Jan. 31 . Contact: Janet Luhrs, Exec Director, VPA, 
236 E 46 St, New York NY 10017; (212) 734-6633. 

• NOR TH AMERICAN OUTDOOR A CADEMY 
AWARDS, March, screens accepted films at the 
1500-member North American Wildlife Confer- 
ence, bringing to their attention the availability of 
these films. Films on any aspect of outdoor recrea- 
tion, wildlife, ecology, soil or water conservation 
and forestry are welcome in 16mm or 3 A "video, but 
there must be strong emphasis on the understanding 
and conservation of natural resources. Send $25 en- 
try fee to OWAA Headquarters, 3101 West Peoria 
Ave, Suite A207, Phoenix AZ 85029. Send film and 
form to James F. Keefe, Chairman, c/o Missouri 
Dept of Conservation, 2901 North Ten Mile Drive, 
PO Box 180, Jefferson City MO 65102; (314) 
751-4115. 

• ROCHESTER INT'L AMATEUR FILM FES- 
TIVAL, May 4-5, provides an audience for non- 
commissioned amateur and student productions. 
Movies on a Shoestring trophies given to work in 8, 
S-8, & 16mm film or 3 A " video. Entry fee: $6.50. 
Deadline: MaTch 16. Contact: Bob Rosenthal, PO 
Box 14360, Rochester NY 14614; (716) 724-2920. 

• SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE FILM 
FESTIVAL, Mar 15-18, gives exposure to young 
and experimental filmmakers throughout the coun- 
try. Largest student-run fest in the country boasts 
1983 prize money of $1500, including lab time for 
local filmmakers. S-8 and 16mm only. Entr\ fee: 
$15. Deadline: Feb 1 . Contact: Robert Gardner, 800 
Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133; (415) 
771-7020. 

• SEATTLE INT'L FILM FESTH M . May, gives 

exposure to feature films that otherwise wouldn't 
(continued on />. 34) 

31 



THE INDEPENDENT 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Mary Guzzy 

With the advent of the new year In & Out Production steps into a new format. Each 
month we 'II bring you more in-depth coverage of the films and tapes AIVF members 
are making and of how they 're doing it. We hope you 'II enjoy the personal touch and 
continue to keep us more-up-to-date on your projects. (Cheap talk and hot gossip 
also welcomed.) 



The New York Group of Polish Film- 
makers is a hub of cinematic activity with 
two films in production this winter. Uni- 
versity of Cincinnati professor and direc- 
tor Slawomir Grunberg began filming Off 
the Highway in December. The 100- 
minute feature drama is the story of a gay 
American writer shaped by the '60's and a 
straight Polish photojournalist-in-exile 
who team up for a 10-day tour of the US 
on assignment for Paris Match magazine. 
From Detroit to Key West they examine 
the paradoxes in themselves and the people 
they encounter on America's backroads. 
The film is being shot on location and 
Grunberg expects to release it in April. 
Seed money for the project was provided 
by the Ohio State Arts Council. The re- 
mainder of the $96,000 budget will come 
from private sources. 

In November Grunberg and collabora- 
tor Tadeusz Arciuch completed photogra- 
phy on a 30-minute 16mm documentary 
about the European mime Stefan Niedzial- 
kowski. Entitled Beret, the project was 
financed by Grunberg and Arciuch and 
filmed in New York City where Niedzial- 
kowski is seeking to make a new life and 
career as teacher and performer. Contact 
the New York Polish Filmmakers at 87 
Russel St., NY NY 11222, (212) 389-1077. 




Michelle Citron's What You Take for Granted was 
shot in Chicago with an all-women crew. 

Women take back the workplace in 
Michelle Citron's What You Take For 
Granted, a docudrama about women in 
non-traditional occupations now in US 
distribution through Iris Films. Based on 
interviews with 100 women from a wide 
spectrum of ethnic and class backgrounds, 
What You Take For Granted was written 
and directed by Citron and includes dram- 
atized interviews intercut with the story of 
a growing friendship between two women 
in non-traditional jobs. The film is the first 
feature ever shot by an all-woman crew in 
Chicago. It is 75 minutes, color and was 
produced on a $47,000 budget, part of 
which came from an NEA grant and part 

3S 



from royalties from Citron's previous 
films. The film was screened in New York 
at the Independent Feature Market in Oc- 
tober 1983, and may be obtained from Iris 
Films, Box 5353, Berkeley CA 94705, (415) 
549-3192. 




Evelyn Hutchins, ambulance driver for the Spanish 
Republic, in The Good Fight. 

Apparently the male half of the Chicago 
indie film community does not take its 
female members for granted. Citron re- 
marked that male friends in the industry 
were impressed with the way her crew 
worked together and were more than will- 
ing to pitch in with a helping hand when 
needed in production. 

A GOOD FIGHT 

The Good Fight, a 98-minute color doc- 
umentary in 16mm by Noel Buckner, 
Mary Dore and Sam Sills, brings back to 
vivid life the era of the Spanish Civil War 
through the stories of 1 1 Americans who 
fought for the Republic in the Abraham 
Lincoln Brigade. 

Five years before the US entered WWII, 
3200 Americans voluntarily went to Spain 
to fight against the Fascist armies of Fran- 
co, Hitler and Mussolini. With rare ar- 
chival film, radio broadcasts, newsreels, 
period songs and recent interviews, The 
Good Fight reminds us of the deep politi- 
cal commitment of the era which lives on 
undimmed in these survivors. Co-produc- 
er Sam Sills, who worked on The Good 
Fight for six years, said the encounters 
with the Lincoln Brigade veterans were a 
life education. "Each one of their stories 
could be a novel. To see just how deep the 
commitment was in those days; not only 
against fascism, but in the fight for better 
conditions." 

The producers spent three-and-a- 
half years researching and fundraising and 
two years in solid production. The Na- 



tional Endowment for the Humanities 
funded the film and, according to Sills, 
"They really made us do our homework. 
We had to do such in-depth research that 
our proposal ended up being a treatise on 
the era." 

The film, narrated by Studs Terkel, in- 
cludes interviews with Alvah Bessie, Bill 
Bailey, Steve Nelson, nurses Ruth 
Davidow and Salaria Kea O'Reilly and 
ambulance driver Evelyn Hutchins. It will 
be screened March 28 at the Film Forum in 
New York City. A Boston screening is be- 
ing scheduled for late January. The film is 
distributed by First Run Features, NY. 
NY. For more information contact the 
Abraham Lincoln Brigade Film Project, 
161 Harvard Av., Rm. 4-C, Allston MA 
02134, (617) 254-4695. 

CENTRAL AMERICA 

From Skylight Pictures comes another 
documentary on Central America: Nicara- 
gua: Report From the Front (certainly 
more revealing than Hollywood's Under 
Fire.) Journalists Pamela Yates and Tom 
Sigel travelled for weeks with both the con- 
tras and the Sandinista army, becoming 
the first journalists to film the "secret 
war." Footage of covert counterrevolu- 
tionary base camps in Honduras depict an 
abundance of US-supplied weaponry and 
the political organization of the contras, 
many of whom were trained in Somoza's 
National Guard. In contrast is their 
journey with the Sandinista national army 
and interviews with farmers and soldiers 
determined to defend "our revolution." 
US policy is explored in interviews and 




Sandinista soldiers defend Nicaragua from US-financed 
"contras" in Nicaragua: Report from the Front. 

statements from President Reagan, Jeane 
Kirkpatrick and policy makers inside and 
outside Congress. Produced by 

Deborah Shaffer and Pamela Yates 
and directed by Deborah Shaffer and Tom 
Sigel, Report From the Front is 32 min- 
utes, color in 16mm and available for ren- 
tal or purchase from Skylight Pictures, 330 
W. 42 St., 24 fl. NY NY 10036, (212) 
947-5333. 

The University Film and Video Associa- 
tion has awarded a $1500 production grant 
to Lise Yasui of Temple University, Phila- 
delphia for a 60-minute documentary film 
recalling the internment and relocation of 
a Japanese family during WWII. Yasui 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



will use stills and home movies from her 
own family's archives as well as other ar- 
chival footage, newspaper clippings and 
present-day interviews to explore a shad- 
owed part of American history: the mass 
internment and relocation of Japanese 
Americans on the West Coast following 
the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Entitled 
Years of Harvest, the film is budgeted at 
$50,000. For further information contact 
Loren D. Cocking, UFVA Membership 
Office, Cinema and Photography, South- 
ern Illinois University, Carbondale IL 
62901,(618)453-2365. 

Franz Walser has completed a 34-min- 
ute, 16mm black-and-white narrative en- 
titled White Noise, the story of a network 
TV employee who discovers that the news 
is fabricated. Walser, a native of Switzer- 
land, wrote and directed the piece, which 
stars Brian Coyle, Dona Brodie, Kricker 
James and Jim Doherty. 

For Walser the filmmaking experience 
in America was perhaps as memorable as 
the story he captured on celluloid. "Pro- 
duction became a social event," he said. 
"In Europe everyone treats filmmaking 
more like a job. Here in the US it's a life- 
style." Walser can be contacted c/o Peter 
Lehner, 17 St. Mark's PI., NY NY 10003, 
(212) 677-8760. 

NEWS FROM AFAR 

Producer Paola Franchini writes from 
Venezuela of an ambitious nine-hour 
series for television on the life and work of 
Simon Bolivar. The story spans the years 
1817-1830, during which Simon Bolivar, 
travelling 20,000 miles, liberated four 
South American countries and founded 
Bolivia. Bolivar was shot completely in 
video in four countries, 20 cities and on 
five battlefields including such locales as 
Caracas, Guyana and the ruins of Sac- 
sayhuaman. Production took six rugged 
months. Director of the series is native 
New Yorker Betty Kaplan. For more 
about Bolivar, contact Paolo Franchini at 
Calle C, Los Dos Caminos (Principal de 
los Ruices), No. 4.03.6.07, Apdo. 2739, 
Caracas 107 Venezuela. 

Director Yan Nascimbene {The Mediter- 
ranean) writes from Paris that he is prepar- 
ing for his second dramatic feature, enti- 
tled Belle-lie, to be shot in France. He is 
seeking support from the government- 
funded National Institute for l'Audiovisu- 
al (INA) and from the French government. 
Nascimbene is located at 25 Quai d'Anjou, 
75004 Paris, France, and can be contacted 
through Camera Verde Films, 26 College 
Park, Davis CA 95616, (916) 758-3582. 

FILM FOLLOW-UP 

We're pleased to report that Calgero 
Salvo's documentary Juan Felix Sanchez 
(In/Out, April 1983) has garnered awards 
at the Chicago and Caracas film fests, and 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1084 



RE: New 
Able Resource 

FIVF's new Production Resources File is 
stuffed with goodies: screenplays, actors'/ 
techies' resumes, info on post/production 
equipment, studios/spaces, production com- 
panies, publications, events/conferences, 
computers, satellites & cable. Come in & con- 
sult it, or send contributions/suggestions to 
the attention of Mary Guzzy. 



was recently named "Best Short Docu- 
mentary" at Cinema du Reel in Paris. . . 
Christopher McLeod, Glenn Switkes and 
Randy Hayes' documentary on the Colo- 
rado Plateau energy development crisis, 
The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice 
Area? (In/Out, May 1983) was screened 
November 12 at the 2nd Native American 
Film & Video Festival at the Museum of 
Natural History in New York. The film- 
makers and Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya 
were present for a discussion of the issues 
raised in the film after the screening. 

FUTURE FILMS 

We've gotten word from a couple of 
folks who would like to be in production 
and are looking for collaborators. Reg- 
inald Therrian, whose title is Pharoah of 
Arkashea (no kidding!), from the Monas- 
tery of Arkashea in Holly Pond, Alabama, 
has written a two-hour fantasy screenplay 
in which life and death are personified as 
the gods Isis and Anubis. These two 
impressive guys appear in a dramatization 
of the struggle between the two "illusions" 
for existence. Contact Reginald at the 
Monastery, Rt. #2, Box 311, Holly Pond 
AL 35083, (205) 706-9793. . .John Amato 
of Plainview, NY has just completed a 20- 
minute video pilot about the life of singer 
Mario Lanza. He is looking for assistance 
in funding and producing a full-length film 
or video piece about Lanza, whose bril- 
liant opera and film career ended prema- 
turely. Contact John at (516) 822-5437. ■ 



To all independent video & film folk who send 
materials to "In & Out of Production": If you have 
striking b/w production stills from your project, 
preferably in vertical format with good contrast, 
send them along with the written copy to Mary 
Guzzy. Notices Editor. Please indicate whether or 
not you wish the photo returned & label the still 
with title, director, actors, situation, return ad- 
dress & phone number. Let's have a full-page 
photo spread of recent independent work!! 




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» 



(continued from p. 31) 

get a regular run. A spokesperson for the event ex- 
plained that this is a "filmgoer's festival." They 
don't seem terribly interested in receiving un- 
solicited entries, but interested producers can write. 
No awards, no fee. 35mm preferred; 16mm OK. 
Deadline: Feb 29. Contact: Darryl MacDonald, 
Daniel Ireland, 801 East Pine, Seattle WA 98122; 
(206) 324-9996. 

• KENYON FILM FESTIVAL, February, pro- 
motes individual expression, experimentation, tech- 
nology and appreciation of cinema by encouraging 
independent filmmakers. Held at Kenyon College, 
fest seeks 16mm work, max 60 minutes and hands 
out at least $700 in prizes. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: 
February. Contact: Sam Pruitt, PO Box 17, Gam- 
bier OH 43022; (614) 427-2610. 

• THREE RIVERS ARTS FESTIVAL, June 8-24, 
is calling for entries for a juried film and video com- 
petition. It will be part of a larger visual arts 
competition sponsored by the Carnegie Institute. 
Film and video artists living in Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
West Virginia, Maryland, New York or Washington 
DC are eligible. Entries must be in Super-8, 16mm or 
Vt " cassette. Optical prints only. This year's juror 
will be Melinda Ward of the Walker Arts Center in 
Minneapolis. Awards totalling $2500 will be given. 
$15 entry fee. Deadline: March 17. For details and 
entry forms contact Donna Chase, Three Rivers 
Arts Festival, 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 
15213; (412) 687-7014. 

• VIDEOSHORTSIV, March-April, promotes the 
difficult-to-distribute medium of video through "an 

' eclectic mix of artwork, short features and public 
service announcements ." Winners are awarded $ 1 00 
and a percentage of revenues when the winning en- 
tries go on tour. Last year's winning videotapes in- 
cluded Maxi Cohen's Cape May: End of the Season 
and Max Mmy'sLeaving thelOth Century. Send 3 A " 
VHS or BETA only. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: March 
15. Contact: Parker Lindner, c/o High Hopes 
Media, PO Box 200069, Broadway Station, Seattle 
WA 98 102; (206) 322-9010. ■ 

Foreign 

• ADELAIDE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June, 
showcases styles and trends of worldwide cinematic 
art by promoting new filmmakers and providing a 
non-political film meeting place. Although it's still 
Australia's small festival— Melbourne and Sydney 
figuring more prominently — Adelaide attracts 
40,000 spectators. Features should be director's 
first, second or third work; max 60 min. for shorts, 
documentaries and animated films. Special awards 
given to features and shorts of exceptional merit. 
Work must be in 16, 35 or 70mm. No fee. Deadline: 
March. Contact: Ian Lauri, GPO Box 354, 
Adelaide, South Australia 50001, tel: 278-6330. 

• AUBUSSON INT'L FILM FESTIVAL ON 
CRAFTWORKS, April 30-May 6, presents French 
audiences with films on craftwork — anything made 
by hand — from all over the world. Send films in S-8, 
16 or 35mm. After fest, work is screened for 2 months 
all over France. No entry fee. Deadline: Feb 20. Con- 
tact: Genevieve Hureau, 972 5th Ave, New York, N\ 
10012; (212) 570-4429. In France: Jean Lurcat 
Cultural and Artistic Center, Avenue des Lissiers, 
23200 Aubusson, France; tel: 55 66 33 06. 

• CARTAGENA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June, 

brings together the most important films of the Ibero- 
Latinoamericano area, presents the best of recent 
Colombian production and shows outstanding work 
from all over the world. Statues awarded for Ibero- 
Latinoamericano features, Colombian shorts and 



int'l features. Indies please note: only American en- 
tries in 1983 fest were The World According to Garp, 
The Awakening, Honky Tonk Freeway and Fantasia. 
Fest seems primarily interested in Latino work and 
Hollywood features. Deadline is April, but im- 
mediate contact strongly advised, as South American 
correspondence takes a lot of time. Contact: Victor 
Nieto, Festival Internacional de Cine, Apartado 
Aereo 1 834 , Cartagena, Colombia; tel: 42-345. Possi- 
ble US contact: Christiane Roget Producciones, Post 
Box E, Coconut Grove, FL 33133; (305) 858-0048. 
Phone presently disconnected but may be hooked up 
soon. 

• EKOFILM INT'L FILM FESTIVAL ON EN- 
VIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, May, introduces 
new films on this subject in categories including 
human settlements, agricultural production, 
ecologization, industry or energy systems, transport- 
ation facilities, negative environmental effects, and 
ecologically balanced landscape development. 
Ekofilm grand prize plus 5 awards in each category 
given to work in 16 and 35mm. Entry fee: $15/30 
min.; $24/over 30 min. Deadline: March. Contact: 
Libuse Novotna, Konviktska 5, 113 57 Prague 1, 
Czechoslovakia; tel: 26 30 32. 

• INT'L FESTIVAL OF SUPERS CINEMA, 
March , exhibits different forms of expression in 8 and 
S-8 film as art. Entry fee not specified. Deadline: 
March. Contact: Enrique Lopez Manzano, Accion 
Super-8, Conde del Asalto 3, Apdo. Correos 35352, 
Barcelona 1, Spain; tel: (93) 317-39-74. 

• INT'L TELEVISION FESTIVAL "GOLDEN 
PRAGUE, " June, is open to any public TV organi- 
zation and accepts only original programs created 
especially for TV. Interested independents should 
enter through their (public) broadcaster only. 
Deadline: March. Contact: Dr. Gennadij Codr, 
Czechoslovak Television, Gorkeno nam. 29, 111 50 
Praha 1, Czechoslovakia; tel: 2136, 247421. 

• MAN AND THE SEA UNDERWATER FILM 
FESTIVAL, March, disseminates info on marine en- 
vironment via symposia, screenings, underwater 
photo competitions. Send 8 or 16mm films shot 
underwater. No awards, no fee. Deadline: March. 
Contact: John Maynard, Australian Underwater 
Federation, PO Box 67, St Lucia, Brisbane, 
Queensland 4067, Australia; tel: 07-3793339. 

• SOFIA INT'L FESTIVAL OF ORGANIZA- 
TION, AUTOMATION, PRODUCTION AND 
MANAGEMENT, May, awards golden, silver and 
bronze "Globes" to scientific, popular science, re- 
search, education and documentary work under 30 
min. in 16 or 35mm. Deadline: March: Contact: In- 
for Film Servis, Bulgaria, 135 Rakovsky St, Sofia, 
Bulgaria. 

• TARBES-PYRENEES INT'L TOURIST FILM 
FESTIVAL, June, presents media promoting 
tourism. Work should "stimulate in the viewer the 
need to go and see for him/herself what has been 
shown." Entered films must be in 16 or 35mm; 52 
min. max. Awards presented. Entry fee: one 
film/1200FF, two/1500 FF, three/1700FF. 
Deadline: March. Contact: Etienne Achille-Fould, 
2 place Ferre, 65000 Tarbes, France; tel: 93.00.78. 

• TRENTO INT'L FESTIVAL OF MOUNTAIN & 
EXPLORATION FILMS, April, features 16 and 
35mm documentaries that spread knowledge and 
appreciation of mountains or document expeditions 
or scientific research dealing with anthropological, 
ecological, physical or archeological aspects of the 
earth. No fee. Deadline: March. Contact: Piero 
Zanotto, Via Verdi 30, 38100 Trento, Italy; tel: 
0461-38175. ■ 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



NOTICES 



NOTICES are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others included as space permits. Send 
notices to THE INDEPENDENT do 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New 



York NY 10012. For further info, call 
(212)473-3400. Deadline: 8th of second 
preceding month (e.g. January 8th for 
March). Edited by Mary Guzzy. 



Buy •Rent •Sell 



• FOR SALE: Arri 16-S w/ synch generator, 
12-120 zone, 400 ' mag., battery, tripod, changing 
bag, 2 motors, cases, many extras. $8500 value, ask- 
ing $3200. Contact: Jim Hubbard, (212) 935-4514, 

NY. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra III synch recorder. Set up for 
documentary. Works w/crystal, phantom power, 
Sennheiser mics, flashgun slating, switchable 20 db 
pad & high pass filter windscreen w/Shure M63 as 
extra line out amp w/equalizer. Nagra case & ATN 
power supply. Very good condition. $1800. Call: 
(212)427-3842/874-2972, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 4008 ZM4 body & 75mm fl . 
9 macro Switar lens. Camera in original carton 
w/manual & warranty, battery charger, filter key, 
eye cup, wrist strap & body cap. Mint condition; 
$995. 16mm Bolex H-16 non-reflex turret w/25mm 
f2.5 Yvar; $100. 105mm f2.5 AI Nikkor telephoto. 
Very good condition; $80. 135mm f5.6 El Nikkor 
enlarging lens for 4x5. Mint; $150. Contact: Bob 
Rosol, (412) 761-8881, PA. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm Moviola 6-plate flatbed 
editing machine. $6000. Contact: Yale University 
Films, 375 Orange St., New Haven Ct 0651 1, (203) 
436-1106. 

• FOR SALE: S-8 Optasound 2-gang motorized 
editing bench, Canon 514XSL camera. Perfect con- 
dition. Magnificent 9' Da-Lite screen, win- 
dowshade operation, ceiling/wall mount. Hahnel 
motorized cement splicer. Anamorphics. Much 
more. Contact: Tim Rogers, (617)631-2361, MA. 

• FOR SALE: 8-plate KEM editing console. 3 
separate screens, 3 separate sound tracks. May be 
rented w/option to buy. Call (212) 563-9310, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Over 500 reels of Americana 
available for licensing to broadcast, cable & other 
markets. Roadside attractions, vistas, nostalgia, 
portraits, unusual events, art & architectue. More 
than 100 stories. Clients include PM Magazine, 
Ripley's Showtime and NBC Tonight Show. Also 
available: 50 ninety-second Video Postcards. Con- 
tact: Dana Atchley, Postcards Associates, 6208 
Thornhill Dr., Oakland CA 9461 1 . 

• FOR SALE: Uher 100 Pilot Synch tape recorder 
equipped for wired or wireless synch signal w/power 
supply. $800. B&H 16mm sound projector w/zoom 
B&H lens. $225. 35mm Arri IIB camera w/case, 
synch generator & synch cable. Soft and hard front 
lens shades w/adjustable filter holders. Constant 
speed motor & cable, variable speed motor & cable, 
Angenieux 35-140mm zoom lens, Zeiss Sonnar 
85mm f2, Zeiss Sonnar 50mm fl.5, Zeiss Sonnar 
35mm f2. Schneider Xenon 28mm f2, Kinoptik 
18mm f2. Angenieux Retrofocus 14.5mm f3.5. 2 
Nicad batteries w/chargers, Cine 60 belt w/charger. 
Camera & all accessories, $5000. 35mm Moviola 
w/take up arms, bulls eye picture. 4-gang 35mm syn- 
chronizer w/magnetic head, 35mm/16mm com- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



bination synchronizer w/counters, 35mm straight & 
diagonal guillotine splicer, amp for synchronizer 
magnetic head input. All $700. Everything mint. 
Call: (212)879-0990, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Stellavox SP-7 recorder w/stereo & 
mono synch headblocks. lO'/i " reel adaptor, 3 3 /i, 
7'/2, 15 i.p.s. speeds. Phantom powers Sennheiser, 
A.K.G., Neuman mics, case & power supply. For 
film or music masters. Excellent condition. $2200. 
Call: (212) 874-2972/427-3842, NY. 

• FOR SALE: A.K.G. C451E condenser mic 
w/cardioid & shotgun heads. Shock mount pistol 
grip & battery power supply. Like new. $500. Call: 
(212) 427-3842/874-2972, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Lowell Solo-kit; 4 omnis, 2 totas, 
plus all attachments. $1 100. Canon DS8 'Scoopic' 
$350. Sennheiser ME 20, 40 & 80 mics w/screens. 
$350. Universal tripod w/fluid head. $325. Contact: 
Steve, (415)359-3742, CA. 

• FOR SALE: Sony 1610 color camera w/adaptor, 
case. Panasonic WV-340P b&w camera. Sony 
KV2101 Trinitron color TV/monitor. Sony 2950 
U-matic 3 A " deck. Tektronix NTSC color synch 
editing console w/test signal generator. Shintron 
366 RS-170 special effects generator. Sony RM-400 
auto editing control unit. Tektronix 528 waveform 
monitor. TRI EA3 editor. Siegel A video genlock 
processing amplifier. Miller fluid F tripod w/legs. 
Bell & Howell 16mm sound projector. Underwood 
Scriptor electric typewriter. IBM electric typewriter. 
Phonemate 400S telephone answering machine. 
Tripod triangles w/wheels. All very inexpensive. 
Best offer. Contact: Elliot, (212) 255-3130, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Tektronix waveform monitor, $650. 
Panasonic NV9300A, $900. JVC 4400 portable V* " 
deck, $1200. JVCKY200, $2400. Sharp 13 "monitor 
receiver, $300. Frezzolini battery belts, $125. Con- 
tact: SoHo Video, (212) 473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 2 Panasonic b&w cameras, 2 
Panasonic Vi " decks, editing console w/Teltronix 
NTSC color synch & test signal generator, Shintron 
special effects generator, 3 Panasonic display 
monitors. Great for those starting out. Total package, 
$600. Call: Elliot, (212) 255-3130, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 camera, Wollensak 
25mm 1.9 lens, Solgar 17mm wide-angle 2.7 lens, 
Kodak Anastigmatice 2.7 102mm lens, $300. Pan 
Cinor Berthiot Vario Switar 17-85mm zoom lens 
w/viewfinder, $700. Bolex 16mm matte box, $125. 
Bolex 16mm motor w/battery box at different 
speeds for hand crank box, $60. S-8 synchronizer, 
$125. Hannell S-8 splicer, $35. Call: (212) 
677-2181/924-2254, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Ikegami HL-79A, BVU-1 10, lights, 
mics, insurance, $450/day. Radio mics, car, sun- 
guns, crew additional as required. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212)473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Aaton B series, 2 mags, 2 batteries & 
charger, 12 x 120 & 9, 5 x 57 zoom Angenieux, case. 



1 complete tripod Sachtler head, long & short bran- 
ches. $18,000. Contact: Orphee Productions, (212) 

678-7281, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Tripod. Sachtler fluid head, heavy- 
duty long legs & short legs. Call: M. Astor, (212) 

678-7281, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Pansonic 3990 low-light camera, 
Sony Vo-4880, 4 BP-60 batteries, 5 " monitor w/bat- 
tery, fluid-head tripod, Sennheiser mic, lav. Smith 
Victor lights, cords & accessories; very portable: 
$225/day w/operator. Contact: Alan/Caryn, (212) 
222-3321, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Complete broadcast-quality pro- 
duction pkg. Includes Ikegami HL-83, V« " JVC 
4700U, color Videotek monitor, wave-form, mics, 
lights & tripod. Production personnel also available. 
Competitive rates. Contact: Everglade Prods. , (212) 
925-1247, N.Y. 

• PROFESSIONAL VIDEO REPAIR, MAIN- 
TENANCE of broadcast & industrial cameras, 
decks, monitors, calibration of wave-forms etc. We 
buy & sell used equipment. Contact: SoHo Video, 
(212)473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Moviola M86 flatbed editor, flicker- 
free prism, low wow & flutter, quick stop circuit, 
torque motor box. 3 yrs. old, excellent condition. 
Fair price. Contact: Ron, (617) 354-6054, MA. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck; old but good, re- 
built w/additional amplifier & speaker: $600 or best 
offer. Call: (212) 765-8860, NY. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• 18TH ANNUAL SMPTE TV CONFERENCE: 
Feb. 10-11, 1984, Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Mon- 
treal. Conference theme is Image Quality — A Time 
for Decisions. One-day tutorial on digital processing 
of video signals sponsored by Canadian Broad- 
casting Corp., Bell Northern Research & INRS 
Telecommunications/University of Quebec will be 
held Feb. 9 immediately preceding conference. Con- 
tact: SPTE, 862 Scarsdale Av. , Scarsdale NY 10583, 
(914) 472-6606. Tutorial info: Dr. Shaker Sabri, 
Mngr. Video Systems, Bell Northern Research, 3 
Place du Commerce, Nun's Island, Quebec Canada 
H3E 1H6, (514)761-5831. 



Independent Bookshelf 

Don't look any further for essential 
madia tomaa. These titles ara 
available at AIVF: 

How to Enter & Win Video/Audio Contests 

Alan J. Gadney 
$8.00 

Cable TV Programming: Time to Sell or 
Sell Out 

Gregg D. Fienberg 
Cable TV Info. Center 
$7.50 

Frames: Statements by Independent 
Animators 

George Griffin 
$5.00 

Get the Money & Shoot: DRI Guide to 
Funding Documentary Film 

Bruce Jackson 
Documentary Research Inc. 
$15.00 



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• 12 th ANNUAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
POLICY RESEARCH CONFERENCE: April 
23-26, 1984, at Airlie House, Warrenton VA. In- 
vited participants including researchers in social 
science, economics, law, engineering, computer 
science & communications discuss current and pro- 
spective research on domestic, international 
telecommunications & information issues. Contact: 
Wilhelmina Reuben Cooke, Citizens Communica- 
tions Center, 600 New Jersey Av. NW, Washington 
DC 20001, (202) 624-8047. 

• WORKSHOPS AT GLOBAL VILLAGE: Com- 
puter Videotape Editing assists students & profes- 
sionals in principles & practices of computer- 
assisted editing. 20hrs. Instruction & use of state-of- 
art system w/250 event memory, animation, multi- 
ple split edits & memory auto editing. Each class 
edits a short work. Video in the Computer Age, 
March 29-30, 1984 provides participants 
w/thorough knowledge of major developments in 
computer/video interface. Panel of communica- 
tions & product development experts, electronics co. 
reps & historians offer comprehensive glimpse of 
field & discuss career & business opportunities. 
$200. Also, 12-wk courses in Beginning, Advanced 
& Intensive Video, Electronic Editing & Document- 
ary. $800 average tuition plus $300 lab fee. Credit 
available through New School. Registration begins 
Jan. 3, term begins Feb. 6. Contact: Nichole 
Westman, (212) 966-7526, NY. 



Editing Facilities 



• SONY TYPE V EDITING EQUIPMENT: Ex- 
cellent hourly rate if you use average 10 or morehrs. 
editing time per month. Contact: Michael Schwartz, 
(212) 925-771/966-6009, NY. 

• SELF-SERVICE EDITING: V* " JVC Tape- 
handlers, RM-88U editor, free instruction. $20/hr. 
Transfers, dubs etc. Contact: Videotrac, (212) 
473-6947, NY. 

• REGULAR & S-8 FILM-TO-VIDEO TRANS- 
FER: Professional quality, industrial or broadcast; 
much better than you've seen before. Supervised or 
unsupervised; reasonable rates. Contact: Landy, 
400 East 83 St. #4A NY NY 10028; (212) 734-1402. 

• SONY BVU 3 A " EDITING: $25. hr. w/editor. 
Contact: Kathy Abbott/Karen Ranucci, (212) 
242-2320, NY. 

• TWO COMPLETE EDITING ROOMS in 

Chelsea: (a) 24-hr. access: Movioloa flatbed w/ 
torque motor box: complete 16mm edit equipment; 
complete kitchen & bathroom; minimal office 
facilities; telephone; air conditioning, (b) 10am- 
6pm access: Steenbeck; complete 16mm edit equip- 
ment; ltd. kitchen, bath facilities; specialized edit 
equipment available at extra cost. Contact: David 
Loucka, Lance Bird, (212) 924-1960, NY. 

• 2977/ STREET VIDEO "where the best edits cost 
less" offers l A " video editing & production svcs. 
Sony 5850 decks. RM440 editor, Microgen 
character generator, fade-to-black, audio mixer, 
mics, audiocassette tape recorders & more. Produc- 
tion svcs. include JVC KY-2000 camera', Sony 4800 
deck, tripod, production mics, lights, more. Con- 
tact: Tami/David, (212) 594-7530, NY. 

• EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION FACILI- 
TIES AVAILABLE: Shortterm rentals only. 9am- 
5pm business days. KEM 8-plate 16/35mm, 3 A " 



36 



video editing, sound transfer, narration recording, 
extensive sound effects library, interlock screening. 
Contact: Cinetudes Film Productions, 295 West 4 
St., NY NY 10014; (212) 966-4600. 

• BRODSKY & TREADWA Y S-8 & 8mm FILM- 
TO-VIDEO TRANSFER MASTERS: Scene-by- 
scene density & total color correction, variable speed 
& freeze frame, sound from any source. Artists & 
broadcasters like our work. By appointment only. 
Call: (617) 666-3372, MA. 

• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: Moderately priced 
by the month . Delivered to your workspace. Repairs 
prompt & included. Contact: Paul, (212) 316-2913, 
NY. 

• LARGE COMFORTABLE EDITING ROOM 

w/KEM 8-plate Universal editing table, 16mm & 
35mm, rewinds, bins, splicers, synchronizers, etc. 
Private phone, additional office space available. 
Midtown location West 53 St. /Broadway. Contact: 
Errol Morris Films, Inc. 1697 Broadway, NY NY 
10019, (212) 757-7478/582-4045. 

• EDIT YOUR NEXT FILM IN ALASKA: Studio 
w/flatbed & house next door. $950/mo. Contact: 
PO Box 102974, Anchorage AK 99510. 

• FOCAL POINT MEDIA CENTER POST PRO- 
DUCTION: 2 Sony V* " decks, edit controller & 
monitors w/6-in/2-out audio mixer, cassette deck, 
cross-pulse & waveform monitor. $25/hr.; $10/hr. 
non-commercial. ECS-90 edit controller w/2 Sony 
5850 decks, Panasonic industrial VHS record/ 
playback deck for interface w/controller, time base 
corrector, Sony monitors, audio & ancillary equip- 
ment. Edit VHS Vi "original to V* "master. $30/hr.; 
$15/hr. non-commercial. 16mm editing bench, 
$15/day; $10/day non-commercial. S-8 bench 
w/built-in sound head & accessories, $10/day; 
$8/day non-commercial. Contact: FPMC, 913 East 
Pine, Seattle WA 98122, (206) 324-5880. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• NY VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY CENTER, 
INC. Call for films & tapes, 5-27 min. S-8, 16mm, 
VHS, } A " for Cable TV series. Rarely seen work es- 
pecially sought. Honorarium paid. Contact: 
Melissa Hill, NYVAC, 116 West Houston St., NY 
NY 10012,(212)473-6947. 

• DISARMAMENT MEDIA NETWORK OF 
OREGON soliciting audio/visual material for a 
series of TV programs about dangers of ongoing 
global weapons build-up. Send brief description or 
existing catalogue/synopsis. DMN will request 
prints or dubs for preview. All formats considered. 
Contact: DMN, 5111 View Point Terrace, Portland 
OR 97201, (503)295-5969. 

• SUPER VIDEO: Store specializing in document- 
ary & educational videocassettes interested in ways 
of representing documentarians' films & programs. 
Contact: Darien Morea, (213) 394-9496, CA. 

• DISTRIBUTOR of 16mm environmental issue 
films looking for new titles for developing 
catalogue. Contact: Umbrella Films, 60 Blake Rd., 
Brookline MA 02146, (617) 277-6639. 

• THE KITCHEN seeks videotapes of all genres for 
exhibition & distribution. Send Va "copies, address, 
phone number & supplementary info. Contact: The 
Kitchen, 59 Wooster St., NY NY 10012. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



• JACKPOT, full service releasing agency for in- 
dependently produced documentary video & films, 
actively seeks new properties for catalogue. Will cut 
previews, design & print advertising releases, print 
copies & distribute. Quality, general appeal & com- 
mercial saleability important. Primary markets 
schools & libraries; also cable & PBS. Submit broad- 
cast quality 16mm, Vt " or 1". Contact: Janice 
Governale, Director Distribution/Acquisition, 
2121 Wyoming St., Dayton OH 45410, (513) 
252-0575. 

• FOX/LORBER A SSOCIA TES, specialists in TV 
marketing & distribution, expanding feature film 
library form representation. Interested in full- 
length English language films w/primarily narrative 
structure for sale to pay TV/cable, broadcast & 
home video, both domestic & foreign. Minimum 
length: 60 min.; no subtitles. Contact: Ericka 
Markman, Fox Lorber Assocs. 79 Madison Av., 
#601 , NY NY 10016, (212) 686-6777. 

• PELICAN FILMS seeks films/tapes for distribu- 
tion to holistic health movement. We offer altern- 
atives to traditional non-theatrical distribution. 
Contact: Arthur Hoyle, 3010 Santa Monica Blvd. 
#440, Santa Monica CA 90404, (213) 399-3753. 

• WEEKLY TV PROGRAM on Swedish national 
TV seeks non-professionally produced videotapes 
of music, dance, stories, experiments, etc. for 
screening. Constructive vitality required. Somepay. 
All cassettes returned; mailing expenses paid. Con- 
tact: Peter R. Meyer, Swedish TV2, 105 10 
Stockholm Sweden. 

• I0TH ANNUAL VIDEO, TELEVISION & 
FILM DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL at Global 
Village. Festival, one of the only American festivals 
devoted exclusively to documentary, will be held in 
May, 1 984. Submission deadline: Jan. 3 1 , 1 984. All 
production formats accepted. Submissions must be 
Vi " video or 16mm for selection & screening. 
Selected programs exhibited at Global Village. If 
possible, winners circulated in traveling show. Cash 
prizes & honorable mention awarded for best of 
festival. $10 entry fee. Contact: Julie Pantelick, 
Nichole Westman, Global Village, 454 Broome St., 
NY NY 10013,(212)966-7525. 



Funds • Resources 

• REPORT AVAILABLE: From a conference of 
film archive cataloguers meeting at Museum of 
Modern Art, Feb. 1983 comes Towards a National 
Computerized Database for Moving Image 
Materials. Provides background history & discus- 
sion of steps necessary to create computer database 
on preservation information & shared archival 
cataloguing & research. Free. Contact: Jon 
Gartenberg, Asst. Curator, Dept. of Film, MOMA, 
11 West 53 St., NY NY 10019. 

• EMERGING MINNESOTA ARTIST NYC 
RESIDENCIESal PS 1 . Beginning July 1984. 2 MN 
artists in visual arts, film & video eligible for 1-yr. 
residencies. $400 accommodation expenses & $650 
living expenses monthly administered by Institute 
for Art & Urban Resources/NY. Program funded 
by MN State Legislature, Jerome Foundation & 
NEA. Deadline: Feb. 1, 1984. Contact: Artists 
Assistance Grant Program, MN State Arts Board, 
432 Summit Av., St. Paul MN 55102, 800-652-9747, 
(612)297-2603. 

• VERMONT COUNCIL ON ARTS Grants-in- 
Aid program accepts applications from VT resident 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1934 



artists & arts organizations serving Vers until 
March l, 1984. Small grants for special projects & 
emergency support to non-profits offered year- 
round. Contact: VCCA, 136 State St., Montpelier 
VT 05602, (802)828-3291. 

• NEH MEDIA PROJECTS in TV, Radio & Film 
proposal deadline: January 30, 1984 for projects 
beginning on or before Oct. 1, 1984. Contact: 
NEH/Media, Mail Stop 403, 806 15th St., NW, 
Washington DC 20506, (202) 724-0386. 

• PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS FA- 
CILITIES PROGRAM planning & construction 
grants administered by National Telecommunica- 
tions & Information Administration. Application 
deadline: Jan. 16, 1984. Awards in early Aug. Ap- 
plicants must be public broadcasting station, non- 
profit foundation, corporation, institution or 
association organized primarily for education or 
cultural purposes, state or local government, 
political or special-purpose subdivision of state. 
Contact: PTFP, US Dept. of Commerce, Rm 4625, 
Washington DC 20230, (202) 377-5802. 

• WESTERN STATES REGIONAL MEDIA 
ARTSFELLO WSHIP: Available for proposed new 
non-commercial film/video works to full-time 
residents of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, 
Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, 
Washington, Wyoming & Pacific Territories. 
Organizations & commissioned work not eligible. 
Applicants will control all aspects of production & 
have primary creative responsibility. Contact: 
Rocky Mt. Film Center, Hunter 102, Box 316, 
University of CO, Boulder CO 80309. 

• FOLKLORE MEDIA CENTER interested in 
sponsoring NEA & NEH grant proposals for films 
about folklore & folklife. Low administrative 
overhead, production guidance offered. 5 films cur- 
rently in production through FMC & 2 under con- 
sideration for funding 1983. Contact: Pacho Lane, 
Director, FMC, PO Box 866, Cerrillos NM 87010, 
(502) 982-6800. 

• 1984-85 NYSCA PROGRAM GUIDELINES 
available in early January. Contact: NYSCA, 80 
Centre St., NY NY 10013, (212) 587-4967. 

• POST PRODUCTION MEDIA GRANTS for 
NY State artists. Maximum $1000. Deadline: Jan. 
20, 1984. Contact: Media Bureau, c/o The Kitchen, 
59 Wooster St., NY NY 10002, (212) 925-3615. 

• EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER ac- 
cepting applications from independent video artists 
working w/electronic image processing for 2-5 day 
residencies. Analog/digital image & sound process- 
ing system includes colorizers, keyers, small com- 
puter & frame buffer. Instruction & technical 
assistance provided. Submit resumes of production 
& exhibition experience, detailed project descrip- 
tion, Vi " tape of recent work & self-addressed 
stamped mailer. Deadline: Jan. 6, 1984. Contact: 
Sherry Miller, Asst. Dir., Experimental TV Ctr. 
Ltd., 180 Front St., Owego NY 13827, (607) 
687-1423. 

• VIDEO SHO-TIME MOVIE CATALOG: On- 
line alphabetical listing of all films available for 
home distribution on VHS, Beta, Laser & CED disc- 
accessible through CompuServe Information Svc. 
Contact: Video Sho-Time Info. Svcs., 12704 Lamp 
Post Lane, Potomac MD 20854, (301) 340-2217. 

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time & money by contacting Karil Daniels to coor- 
dinate most effective, least expensive shoot possible. 
Ten years experience w/ San Francisco independent 
film community. Contacts to quality freelance crew 
members, locations, equipment, services & supplies 
at best rates. Contact: Point of View Prods., 2477 
Folsom St., San Francisco CA 94110; (415) 
821-0435. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A & B rolls cut, 
scenes pulled for opticals etc. Color & b/w, reversal , 
negative stocks. Reliable service, reasonable rates. 
Call: (212) 786-6278, NY. 

• GOT A RIGHTS PROBLEM? Want to use re- 
cording, film footage, obtain music license, get 
rights to literary work or photo? Barbara Zimmer- 
man's service provides solutions to these problems & 
more. Special free initial consultation for readers 
who mention they saw this ad in The Independent. 
Contact: Barbara Zimmerman, 145 West 86 St., NY 
NY 10024; (212)580-0615. 

• OMNI PROPS: Specializing in design & construc- 
tion of strange, unusual props and set pieces for 
film, video, photography. Contact: Richard Sands, 
1 79 Grand St., Brooklyn NY 1 121 1; (212) 387-3744. 

• PENNY WARD/VIDEO: Documentation of 
dance, theatre workshops & performances. Collab- 
oration & consultation; ex-dancer sympathetic to 
dancers' needs. Video for dance research projects. 
Video resumes of choreography for grant applica- 
tions. Contact Penny Ward, (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• LEGAL SERVICES: Experienced entertainment 
lawyer specializing in independent productions. 
Reasonable rates. Contact: Paula Schaap, (212) 
777-6361 or 460-5015, NY. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER A VAIL ABLE w/Arri 
16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent in French, Span- 
ish. Negotiable rates. Contact: Pedro Bonilla, (212) 
662-1913, NY. 

• NEWS CREW A VAILABLE w/ 16mm & Va " 
production gear. Professional credits on request. 
Contact: Pacific St. Films, 630 Ninth Av., NY NY 
10036,(212)875-9722. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER A VAILABLE for fic- 
tion, documentary. Fully equipped including Aaton 
7LTR, Cooke 10.4-52, 16 or S16, Super Speed, L. 
Tl .3. Reasonable rates. Contact: Igor Sunara, (212) 
249-0416, NY. 

• PENNY WARD/VIDEO: Rentals — Sony 
DXC- 1 800 camera, Beta 1 Portapak , mic & monitor 
w/ operator, $150/day; same w/ VO-4800 deck, 
$175/day. Transfers— Vi " Beta to 3 A ", $10/hr. 
Viewing— Vi " Beta & % ", $5/hr. Editor— $10/hr. 
Call: (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER A VAILABLE w/ JVC 4700 
3 /4 "deck, JVC KY 1900 3-tube camera, full audio & 
Mole Richardson location lighting setups. $300/ 
day. Flexible for longer shoots. Also available: 
multi-camera studio & control room, mobile multi- 
camera unit, Vi " & Vi " editing. "We work within 
your budget." Contact: Mike, ProCam Produc- 
tions, (516) 379-6492. 

• SCRIPT SUPER VISOR A VAILABLE to work 
on low-budget features or shorts. Contact: Mindy, 
(212)636-1426, NY. 

38 



• 2- WA Y ACCESS SA TELLITE EVENT: Wendy 
Clarke, video artist, forming small group of people 
to assist in developmental stages of new public video 
art event. Meet once per week for 6 months to 
"play" w/ interconnecting separate spaces in an in- 
teractive workshop exploring painting, movement, 
poetry, etc. Event scheduled to take place in late 
May in NYC. Send resume & covering letter detail- 
ing special interests. Contact: Peopletapes, 24 
Horatio St., NY NY 10014. 



• • • 

Coming 
Attractions 



La Operacion—an interview with 
Ana Maria Garcia on her 
documen tary about sterilization 
in Puerto Rico 

Alternative Interactive Video by 
Joan Jubela 

Performance/Dance into 
Video/Film by Daryl Chin 

All About Hispanic Media 




• YOUNG COMPANY, serving American- 
German information needs seeks writer/director/ 
designer for audiovisual productions — technical, 
educational, documentary, PR, tv. At least 4-6 yrs. 
experience in multimedia, film & video & all around 
creativity requested. Individual must speak & write 
German. Salary is $24,000/year. Please send resu- 
me. Contact: Elias Velonis, Heartwood Communi- 
cations, Johnson Road, Washington MA 02135. 

• CAMERA ASSISTANT w/ Aaton 7 LTR for 
hire. Lighting & grip package available. Contact: 
John, (914)473-0633, NY. 

• RESEARCHER: Access & familiarity w/ all 
NYC libraries & Library of Congress in DC. Effi- 
cient & meticulous w/ background in history, politi- 
cal economy & filmmaking. Rate negotiable. Con- 
tact: Danny, (212) 924-471 1, NY. 

• INTERNS NEEDED: For Telecommunications 
Research & Action Center, publishers of Access. 
Winter academic quarter. Open to undergraduates, 
graduate & law students. Academic credit available. 
No compensation. Work on variety of projects re- 
lated to telecommunications policy, research & write 
articles for monthly journal, books pamphlets relat- 
ing to telephone, cable, broadcast & new technolo- 
gies. Contact: TRAC, Internship Program, Box 
12038, Washington DC 20005. 

Publications 

• THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE MONO- 
GRAPH SERIES: Four volumes of essays on 



cinema & television. Cinema & Language, edited by 
Stephen Heath & Patricia Mellencamp. Reports 
from the field of semiology. Regarding Television: 
Critical Approaches, edited by E. Ann Kaplan. 
New approaches to commercial TV. Re-Vision: 
Essays in Feminist Film Criticism, edited by Mary 
Ann Doane, Patricia Mellencamp, Linda Williams. 
Strategies resulting in production of cinematic im- 
ages of women. Cinema Histories, Cinema Practic- 
es, edited by Patricia Mellencamp & Philip Rosen. 
Theory & analysis of cinema in history. $25/ea. 
hardcover, $10/ea. softcover. Contact: University 
Publications of America, 44 North Market St., 
Frederick MD 21701. 

• ON FILM: Critical & informational quarterly 
film & fine arts journal from UCLA resuming pub- 
lication w/ grant from UCLA College of Fine Arts 
& Graduate Students Assoc. 3 issues/yr. $7.50/in- 
dividuals, $15/institutions. Contact: College of 
Fine Arts, UCLA, 405 Hilgard Av., LA CA 90024. 

• REDISCOVERING FRENCH FILM: Museum 
of Modern Art anthology published Oct. 1 , 1 983 in- 
cludes history of French film from beginning to 
1960's by director Richard Roud. Essays by direc- 
tors Jean Renoir, Abel Gance, Rene Clair & critics 
Andre Bazin, Dudley Andrew, Stephen Harvey. 
Edited by Mary Lea Bandy, director MOMA Dept. 
of Film. Features bibliography & filmography of 
over 100 filmmakers & works. $14.95 paperback. 
Distributed by NY Graphic Society & Little, Brown 
&Co., (212)683-0660. 

• S8 IN THE VIDEO AGE by Bob Brodsky & 
Toni Treadway now available in Spanish, $10, 
USA. Discounts for residents of Latin America due 
to grant from Ford Foundation. 2nd English edi- 
tion now $14.95 pre-paid. Contact: Brodsky & 
Treadway, 63 Dimick St., Somerville MA 02143. 



Trims • Glitches 

• AFFINITY FILMS, non-profit Alaska-based 
media company, has received 2 grants from Alaska 
State Council on the Arts: to produce Arctic Light, 
film about unique & beautiful yearly lighting varia- 
tions in far north; & for scripting & development of 
film about causes of violence in our society. Con- 
tact: Affinity Films, PO Box 2974, Anchorage AK 
99510. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members who 
received NEA Visual Artists Fellowships in video. 
Recipients of $15,000 are Liza Bear, NY; Maxi 
Cohen, NY; Shalom Gorewitz, NY; Martha 
Rosier, Brooklyn; $5000 recipients are Raymond 
Ghirardo & Megan Roberts, Laramie WY & Deans 
Keppel, NY. 

• AIVF MEMBERS RECEIVE NEA MEDIA 
PRODUCTION A WARDS: Wendy Clarke, NY 
received $15,000 for Video Saxophone; Kit Fitz- 
gerald, NY received $15,000 for Saints, Scholars & 
Schizophrenics; Nancy Holt, NY will document her 
sculpture & landscaping project in Rosslyn VA w/ 
$15,000 grant; Emily Hubley, NY was granted 
$15,000 for animated Man On a Plane; Leo Hur- 
witz, NY received a research & development grant 
of $7,500; Cynthia Mondell, Dallas received 
$10,000 for children's film, The Henderson Ave. 
Bug Patrol; John Sanborn, NY will make Quirky 
w/ grant of $15,000; Ann Schaetzel, NY received 
completion funds of $15,000 for documentary. 
Manhunt; & Walter Ungerer, Montpelier VT was 
granted $15,000 for an experimental film about a 
journey from Long Island to Montreal. Congratu- 
lations, all! ■ 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1984 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



INDEPENDENT 

MARCH 1984, VOLUME 7, NUMBER 2 

Publisher: Lawrence Sapadin 

Editor: Kathleen Hulser 

Associate Editors: Susan Linfield, 

Renee Tajima 

Contributing Editors: Bob Brodsky, 

Debra Goldman, Mary Guzzy, Fenton 

Johnson, David Leitner, Wendy Lidell, 

Toni Treadway 

Contributors: Luis H. Francia, Teal 

Fraser, Joan Jubela, Melody Pariser, 

Reynold Weidenaar, Adrienne Weiss 

Art Director: Deborah Payne 

Art Assistant: Giannella Garrett 

Advertising: Barbara Spence 

Distributor: Bernhard DeBoer 

Typesetting: Skeezo Typography 

Printer: PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway,9th Floor,New 
York, NY 10012, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt 
educational foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of in- 
dependent producers and individuals involved in 
independent video and film. Subscription is in- 
cluded with membership in AIVF. Together, 
FIVF and AIVF provide a broad range of educa- 
tional and professional services for in- 
dependents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Articles in The Independent are contributed 
by our members and supporters. If you have an 
idea for, or wish to contribute, an article to The 
Independent, contact the editor at the above ad- 
dress. 

The copyright in all articles contained in The 
Independent is jointly owned by FIVF and the 
particular author, except where otherwise noted. 
Consequently, the right to reprint same will re- 
quire the written permission of both FIVF and 
the particular author. Views expressed are those 
of the authors, and not necessarily of AIVF or 
FIVF. 

©FIVF 1984 
• 

AIVF/F1VF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, executive 
director; Wendy Lidell, assistant director; Isaac Jackson, media 
coordinator; Andrea Estepa, membership services; Mary Guzzy, 
information services; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project 
administrator: Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

A1VF/FIVFBOARDSOFDIRECTORS: Robert Richter, presi- 
dent; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian Jimenez, chair; 
Peter Kinoy. secretary; Matt Clarke, treasurer; Pearl Bowser; 
Loni Ding; Denise Oliver; Howard Petrick; Lawrence Sapadin 
{ex officio); Richard Schmiechen; Tom Turley. 

A Publication of 

The Foundation for 

Independent Video 6 Film 

* 

The Association of 

Independent Video A 

Filmmaker* 



CONTENTS 



Features 

Interactive Videodisk for Artists 4 

Exploration of New Medium 's Promises & Pitfalls • Joan Jubela 

Lights, Camera . . . and Affirmative Action 1 6 

How a UCLA Program of the 60s Changed the Color of Indie Filmmaking • Renee Tajima 



Columns 

Media Clips • Selling to a Cable Stand-Alone 

Also Fin-Syn Fracas, Chicago Access, Silkscreen Update • Goldman, Francia, Tajima 

West Indies • Building a Voice 

West Coast Lobbying Coalition Formed & Off to Running Start • Fenton Johnson 



In Focus • Tape-to-Film 

Nilsson's "Signal 7" Shows It Has Come Far But Has Far to Go i 



1 David Leitner 



Festivals •Dutch World Wide Video 

Also, Filmex, New England, Cracow, Florence • Weidenaar, Lidell & Pariser 

Notices 

Mary Guzzy 

In & Out of Production 

Mary Guzzy 

Summary of AIVF Minutes 



8 
12 
13 
20 
24 
26 
15 



Cover: Montage by visual artist Teal Fraser— Is this your vision? Are you being manipulated 
by this image? Key in your code, create a new language. 



As an independent video or filmmaker, you've 
decided to work "outside the system"— which 
means you need a community of peers even more. 
The Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers 
(AIVF) is such a community. As the national trade 
association for independent producers, AIVF 
represents your needs and goals to government, 
industry and the general public. 

Along with our sister organization, the Foundation 
for Independent Video & Film (FIVF), we also offer 
you a wealth of concrete services: 
* Comprehensive health insurance at affordable 
rates * The Independent Magazine, our film & 
video monthly * FIVF's Festival Bureau, providing 
foreign & domestic liaison * Comprehensive 
information services * Screenings & Seminars 



There's 
Strength in 
Numbers. . . 



INDEPENDENT 



JOIN TODAY! 

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Add $10 Outside US & Canada 



NAME 



ADDRESS 



CITY/STATE/ZIP 

Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, (between, 
Bleecker & Houston) 9th floor, New York NY 10012 Drop by our' 
offices or call (212) 473- 3400 




MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 




"Are you now or have you ever been a 
member of the Communist Party?" queried 
the videodisk. The viewer was mute. Aided by 
reeling waveforms of biofeedback interroga- 
tions, the high technology was only able to pro- 
duce a void of information. Did it really know 
what it wanted? Had it no sense of ambiguity? 

"I was just doing the dishes when the disk 
slipped into my home and tried to seize me. Us- 
ing nothing but plain cajoling to outright in- 
timidation all these purveyors of political and 
philosophical points of view try to claim a 
chunk of your head space under the guise of in- 
teractivity. Why should I be anything but pas- 
sive?" said the viewer. 

"For the first time, audiences are no longer 
limited to passive watching of television. Now 
they can personalize the programming. They 
can get involved. The term for this capability is 
'interactive programming. ' It opens the way 
for a new kind of communications: high- 
quality pictures and sound tailored expressly 
for viewers to interact with in businesses, in 
schools, in homes. The result is communica- 
tions with a new dimension in persuasion and 
influence. . . " (Pioneer Video Programming 
Reference Guide/ 

The Department of Defense is purported to 
be the largest capital investor in the research of 
interactive videodisk technology. Since the 
Renaissance the practical applications of 
science have been directly connected to ad- 
vanced warring capabilities. Galileo, Leonar- 
do and the Wright Brothers were all at one time 
employed by the military. The science of avia- 
tion has given humanity the ability to drop 
atom bombs, hasten travel, surveil the enemy 
and gain a gestalten view of our environment. 
At present videodisk simulators, similar to ar- 
cade games, attempt to mold fighter pilots into 
better flyers and teach reading and writing 
skills to a large percentage of functionally il- 
literate GIs stationed in Europe. 

Artists and independents, working in both 
film and video, are becoming increasingly at- 
tracted to the possibilities of this expensive and 
hardware-intensive medium. Some envision it 
as a totally new art form, the synthesis of film, 
video, print and the computer. 
4 



In an unscientific survey to assess my reader- 
ship's awareness of videodisk technology and 
its applications, I asked one dozen indepen- 
dent film and videomakers between the ages of 
24 and 36 what they could tell me about 
videodisk. Every level of sophistication was ex- 
posed. One man in his early thirties was ex- 
ceedingly well-versed on the subject and could 
even explain that the high density tracks con- 
taining the video and audio information on a 
laser disk are called pits. He enthusiastically 
suggested collaborating on a project. A 
24-year-old feminist filmmaker said she 
thought a videodisk was something that came 
into your home and asked you questions. Her 
description expressed an overall mistrust of 
technology. The middle ground of re- 
spondents, both male and female, hovered be- 
tween exuberance and suspicion, but there was 
a tendency, for women to be less interested and 
less informed than men about interactive 
videodisk and technology in general. 

VIDEODISK PRIMER 

Select one or more of the following terms 
most accurately describing your general 
perceptions of technology: 
impelling. . .seductive. . .friendly. . .glam- 
orous. . .exploitative . . .oppressive. . . 
mystical. . .subdued. . .powerful. . .eco- 
nomical. . .personal. . . impersonal . . . too 
personal. 

Design features specific to videodisk tech- 
nology are inextricably related to concerns and 
theoretical issues that have been especially 
engaging to artists and writers since the begin- 
ning of the industrial age and the development 
of film and photography; ideas about non- 
linear and narrative, associative text, semio- 
logical relationships between signs and mean- 
ing, streams of consciousness, chance pro- 
cedures, performance, audience participation 
and the political implications of distribution, 
to name a few. 

Using the most simplistic analogy, interac- 
tive videodisk is the visual and aural equivalent 
of a book with all the broader implications of 
reading sounds, images, and text in a sequen- 
tial order and time frame controlled by the 



viewer. A disk could also be a pamphlet, a bro- 
chure, a training manual, a catalogue, a dic- 
tionary, a painting, point of purchase display 
or kinetic wallpaper. With access to the neces- 
sary hardware and software an individual can 
locate any frame instantaneously, retain a still 
image indefinitely, step through one frame 
after the next, and move backwards and for- 
wards in fast and slow motion with the added 
benefit of multiple audio tracks. At this stage 
in the development of the technology, video- 
disk is by-and-large a play-only medium. 

The highest available interactive videodisk 
technology is obtained in the laser optical re- 
flective format also called Constant Angular 
Velocity (CAV). It uses a non-contact, low 
power laser to project a beam onto the disk 
which reflects varying signal modulations 
etched into the pits by a more powerful laser 
during the one-time recording process. In con- 
junction with a computer, the laser gives the 
viewer the capability to jump immediately 
from frame number one to frame number 
54,000, or to any frame in-between. On both 
sides of the laserdisk there are a total of 
108,000 frames. The other two major formats, 
Capitance Electronic Disk (CED) and Video 
High Density (VHD), use magnetic versus op- 
tical technology and employ a stylus versus a 
laser. They are not as inherently fast or ac- 
curate as the laser optical technology, but they 
do have one advantage: they are generally less 
expensive. 

With the continual implementation of digi- 
tal technologies, the storage capacity for vide- 
odisk will grow larger and larger: thicker and 
thicker books without any actual bulk increase 
in the size of this slim object resembling a 
phonograph record. Made of virtually 
indestructible acrylic, the laserdisk has per- 
manence while continuing to possess its ori- 
ginal picture and sound quality throughout fu- 
ture history. The entire collection of one 
million photographs from the Smithsonian's 
Air and Space Museum is presently being pro- 
duced on a 10-laserdisk set to be sold for $300. 
As the medium becomes more predominant, 
especially in schools, it will exert a powerful 
influence on changing perceptions. 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Videodisk technology has been actively 
developed for 1 3 years and has held a dark cor- 
ner in the marketplace since 1 978 . At least nine 
different corporations manufacture hardware 
in the three different formats for use in two 
markets by consumers or industry and institu- 
tions. In 1983, 150,000 optical laserdisk 
players were in use versus 100,000 in 1982. 
250,000 players are expected to be operating in 
1984 due to the boost from the games and in- 
dustrial / military markets. On the consumer 
level there are currently a half-million CED 
players in American homes. The consumer 
format will continue to sell, but its growth rate 
is expected to slow down in comparison to the 
laser format. A diversity of formats developed 
in an overly competitive marketplace has con- 
tributed to the retarded growth of this seem- 
ingly precocious medium. 

Popular acceptance, enterpreneurial invest- 
ment and widespread use of interactive video- 
disk technology will be intensified by three fac- 
tors: the introduction of video arcade games 
last summer that use disk technology coupled 
with real film footage, such as Disney-style cell 
animation; the increasing standardization by 
manufacturers (all new models of laser optical 
reflective disk players will begin offering either 
232-C or RS-422 connecting ports for interface 
to personal computers); and the development 
of the disk as a recordable medium. Listed at 
$40,000, Panasonic sells a one-time record 
system designed for document storage. 
Another kind of system will be used in large- 
scale film and tape postproduction facilities, 
transferring original footage to disk in order to 
decrease editing time. Technical requirements 
and cost factors make low-end industrial and 
consumer use of recordable disk unprofitable 
at the present time. 

The depth of a pit on a CA V interactive laser 
optical videodisk is approximately 0. 1 micron. 
The potential for low cost, democratic access 
to the production and distribution of inter- 
active videodisk by independents within at 
least the next five years is just about as minute. 
Aside from normal production costs, the add- 
ed expense of producing a videodisk include 
mastering, computer programming develop- 
ment, additional time and care in postproduc- 
tion, and a slew of extras. If a personal 
10-minute videotape cost me four figures to 
produce then the "plus figure" of videodisk 
puts the medium out of my reach. John Gian- 
cola, head of the media section at the New 
York State Council for the Arts, foresees the 
mass distribution of videodisk as more com- 
plicated and limited than videocassette and 
film, yet he feels there is a need for artists to 
work in new technologies because of their 
humanizing impact on both product and 
design. 

WOULD YOU CLASSIFY THE 
FOLLOWING AS AN 
AMERICAN SUCCESS 
STORY? 

"I'm an avant-garde filmmaker. That 's my 
rep in the world. I travel around and I get little 
MARCH 19 j^.^ 






ilfiii 







THE INDEPENDENT 




•»•*• ■s/20 W5 /?ere o«rf rtere. People know me in those 
••«•{ circles, but you don 't make a living doing this. 
'••.V 77je e«/"/>e community of avant-garde film- 
*••*• makers has to work at something else like 
!%%'• teaching or doing carpentry. I work as a film 
Jf»* ( editor for the commercial film industry. So I'm 
gflfi working on this Omni Show and there I am in 
I^V* my editing room at 1619 Broadway and this 
CJ\? man comes around interviewing everyone 
\Qf rom room to room. He 's looking for an editor 
{jftg to work on his World 's Fair videodisk project. 
Sj**2 He was interested in me because I was an ar- 
X •j] tist /filmmaker. That usually doesn 't help me 
li • • in the least when it comes to getting a job, plus I 
'••J didn't know anything about video. I was a 
•\filmmaker with a capital "F. " I didn 't even 
know what interactive video was. " — Grahame 
Weinbren 

Working with the design firm of Ramirez 
and Woods, Weinbren edited approximately 
500 industrial films into an interactive 
videodisk format for the US Department of 
Energy's exhibit at the 1982 World's Fair in 
Knoxville, Tennessee. The informational piece 
attempted to explain every energy topic from 
mining uranium to conservation in the home. 
As one of the first videodisk systems accessible 
to a mass audience, the project has become a 
prototype for other systems both in the sim- 
plicity of its presentation and its technical 
innovations. It was the first project to incor- 
porate live computer-generated graphics 
keyed onto visuals emanating from the 
videodisk . Words and text could be altered and 
superimposed over already-recorded images. 
The more Weinbren worked on the World's 
Fair project the more he began to draw connec- 
tions between the potential of interactive 
videodisk technology and ideas he had been ex- 
ploring in his own personal films. In collabora- 
tion with independent film and videomakers 
Roberta Friedman, Kim Halsey and Anthony 
Forma, Weinbren is producing a narrative 
videodisk called The Erl King. The project has 
been awarded a combination of grants totaling 
$35,000 from NYSCA and the National En- 
dowment for the Arts. The piece is based on a 
poem by Goethe set to a song by Schubert 
about immortality, death, and the obsessive 
relationship between a father and a dying son. 
Numerous tangential elements dealing with 
the attractions of death will be incorporated in- 
to the piece including work by new wave per- 
cussionist ZEV, gospel music by Fourteen 
,-. .•.■...■. Karat Soul, and hundreds of associated 
£■££] sounds, words, and pictures stored as single 
frames on the disk. 

The project uses a technical system very 
similar to the one employed at the World's 
Fair: three laserdisk players, an audio compact 
disk player, a personal computer, and touch 
sensitive monitors. Because of his interest in 
non-linear narrative Weinbren will experiment 
with a technique called branching. Struc- 
turally similar to a family tree, different 
pathways within a story can be explored by the 
viewer. In The Erl King, by touching a portion 
ftjjflijj of the screen displaying chickens, the viewer 
$? can cause the program to branch to a segment 



of the disk about the life cycle of the chicken. 
Weinbren is negotiating with the Sony Cor- 
poration to gain access to the necessary hard- 
ware. 

At this time the piece is only being planned as 
a museum installation. Weinbren sees no pos- 
sibility of commercial distribution. "I used to 
think the work that avant-garde filmmakers 
did could have an influence on the perceptions 
of the media, but no, once that work gets 
incorporated into a piece being produced for 
commercial considerations then it has to get 
diffused." 

IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO 

You are preparing to drive from New York 
to Los Angeles because you recently met Sam 
Peckinpah 's bodyguard in a leather bar and he 
liked your script, which was kind of a takeoff 
on Con voy, so he 's given you a couple of good 
contacts in Hollywood. The story is about the 
road. It's an interactive videodisk narrative. 
You have the choice of traveling 1-40 or Route 
66. In mapping out your narrative possibilities 




you can forge a cowpath across Kansas if you 
desire. And forget about Kris Kristofferson 
being the top bill — the viewer is behind the 
wheel on this one. 

Under a fellowship at MIT's Center for Ad- 
vanced Visual Studies, Peter D'Agostino is 
currently producing an interactive videodisk 
entitled Double You (andX, Y, Z). The piece, 
motivated by the birth of his daughter, is about 
the acquisition of language. Its structure is 
built upon the physical model of light, gravity, 
strong and weak forces. Only the last two 
topics, constructed around the formation of 
sentences and the dispersion of songs, use an 
interactive mode accessible to the viewer. 
When D'Agostino completes the project he in- 
tends to print only a limited edition off the 
master disk rather than circulate Double You 
to a mass audience. D'Agostino, who teaches 
in the Radio, Television and Communications 
Department at Temple University, sees the 
production of his first videodisk as a personal 
work aimed primarily at academics, artists and 
students. 



"New techniques emerge for use by the 
military or for surveillance, but if we continue 
to let technology develop in this way without 
entering int© some kind of discourse we're let- 
ting only the technocrats decide how that 
medium develops." When hardware becomes 
more available and the technology becomes 
less complicated and less expensive, 
D'Agostino sees the possibility of interactive 
videodisk evolving into an alternate form of 
publication for independents. 

As a commercial product, videodisk will 
probably expand into a new genre with digres- 
sive tendencies. "What is the idea behind the 
narrative disk, to have you spend more time 
with some kind of dumb narrative? If we say 
the same crap we've always been saying in five 
different ways, it will take five times longer to 
deal with the same kind of material and end up 
roping us into a sense of false participation." 
From D'Agostino's perspective, people have 
retained an almost McLuhanesque perception 
of television as participatory by its very nature, 
a misconception that only reinforces the selling 
power an interactive soap opera or video game 
will have on a mass cultural level, regardless of 
the notion of individual participation. 

"The stories I read my daughter before she 
goes to bed become important because they're 
ways and models of dealing with the world, but 
what will happen with interactive narrative in 
our persuasive consumer culture for the most 
part is that it will become a quick-sell item. 
That's the danger of the disk. As long as it's a 
new item someone will jump on it, sell it, and; 
go on to the next thing." 

FANTASIZE THE OUTCOME 
OF YOUR VIDEODISK 
NARRATIVE 

Hollywood loves your Convoy spinoff, but 
Rewrite has suggested changing the setting 
from now to the future, from these planar\ 
United States to the Greater Planetary Empire, p 
It 's so much easier to pre-visualize the fantasy k 
factor in a 3-D star field than the reality of the | 
road, plus they have this fantastic new com-? 
puter that will allow the viewer to fantasize any | 
love object he or she desires. [ 

ArtDisc is a collaborative videodisk project 
between television producer, writer and per- 
former Mitchell Kriegman, dancer/choreog- 
rapher Pooh Kaye, film animator George Grif- 
fin and musician/multi-media artist Laurie 
Anderson. The project is being financed in 
part by grants totalling $55,000 from NYSCA 
and the NEA with some assistance being of- 
fered in the form of donated services from 
within the industry. About half of the neces- 
sary budget has been raised. Hoping for a slot 
in the consumer market, Kriegman, the pro- 
ject's director, is negotiating with a commer- 
cial distributor. If those negotiations are 
finalized then the material on the disk would be 
accessible through a personal computer via an 
interface to the disk player. A similar system 
could also function as a traveling museum ex- 
hibition. Lesser degrees of interactive 
sophistication can be achieved in many disk 



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— systems through a microprocessor that con- 
trols the disk player. 
Whether as a museum installation or com- 
,\ mercial product, ArtDisc will attempt to 
•V» sidestep what Kriegman discerns as a prevalent 
!•*•*•« lack of conceptual thought on the part of most 
••V. m <i ustr y producers and disk designers who 
V. produce software mimicking either video 
»*»V games or SAT tests. He has worked on both in- 
••%•#•• dustrial disk projects and as a computer con- 
!J^J#* sultant for a psychological testing firm. 
'lyO "If people were so interested in playing 
'•rt%J games then board games would sell like crazy. 
0»V ^°' P e °P' e played video games because it gave 
*• them something new to do with their television 
..sets, something they've been excluded from 
', 1 1 !•* participating in. Disks have to go beyond that 
* J ! \li simple game mentality or people will get tired 
IWfS* of them like they got tired of video games!" 
»*\l»" Once a booming fad, the video game industry 
^V* •• experienced heavy losses during most of 1983. 
£* •" Laserdisk games might invigorate the market, 
■tic* * yet a Same like the popular "Dragon's Lair" 
;Xll*« costs arcade operators around $4,500, twice as 
•tyt •' much as most other video games. 
~ m °' ArtDisc will not be dependent on com- 
:T?.* plicated branching structures. One side of a 
Kg::; laser optical reflective disk can contain ap- 
|yV: proximately 30 minutes of visual material 
^i played at normal speed. Complex branching 
IsSk: patterns eat that time very quickly. Instead of 
felpiV: stressing the possibilities of branching, 
FtTJS:- Kriegman intends to experiment with different 
ijiip: modes of accessing information rather than 
(iHHjH relying on stilted lists of options presented in a 
•ilP.:': menu format. Palindrome effects will take full 
I-::'::-:: advantage of the viewer's ability to control 
"■■V: motion. 

In his own work, such as the recently com- 
pleted television piece My Neighborhood, 
Kriegman employs a theatrical technique he 
calls "fake interactivity." He plays a character 
living on the Lower East Side who speaks 
^directly to the viewer in the first person 
I :i» singular, attempting to remove the artifice of 
; ™ the television set . Even with his intended effort 
to confront the viewer with a responsive situa- 
tion, he asserts that making interactive disks 
will not primarily be about interactivity, multi- 
ple choice, or putting the viewer in control, but 
rather about creating new structures within a 
work of art and finding new means for the 
viewer to access those structures. Hype sug- 
gesting that elaborate videodisk technology 
will allow people to create their own story or 
write their own music is a total misconception 
of the artistic possibilities inherent within the 
medium of an interactive videodisk. "You 
don't need Picasso to develop a paint-by- 
number system." 

VIDEODISK POP QUIZ 

What group of artists living near the turn of 
the century used schoolboy pranks like 
overselling tickets to their performances and 
putting glue on theater seats to create a 
disruptive form of audience participation ? 
Step frame backwards for correct answer. 
STSIRUTUF NAILA TI EHT. 




Video artist Barbara Buckner has worked 
with electronically processed imagery since 
1972. From the man-on-the-street point of 
view she perceives her work as "idiosyncrat- 
ic," an abstract language even the museum- 
goer has difficulty grasping unless it is bla- 
tantly incorporated into a narrative structure. 
Her work, nearly all of it silent, is meditative 
and ethereal with a sense of translucence, color 
and form like painting. With a $6,500 Services 
to the Field Grant from the NEA to conduct 
research into developing technologies, 
Buckner began in 1982 to investigate 




interactive videodisk. In her first interactive 
project, Analogs, Buckner designed a kind of 
videodisk model utilizing two VHS decks and a 
Commodore 64 computer. As she describes it, 
different images are simultaneously seen on 
two monitors. Questions appearing in the 
form of a text on a computer display prompt 
the viewer to make choices concerning the 
relationships between the two sets of images. 
Through this selective process, codes and signs 
of depicted objects develop metaphors of 
meaning; a salt shaker can become snow on a 
window pane. Buckner intends creativity to 
become a conscious instead of a subconscious 
process. For this transformation to take place 
the viewer must manipulate the motion 
controls on the deck (play, fast forward, etc.) 
taking the tapes to the desired locations. By 
isolating the act of perception, the user's 
response completes the work. "I think what 
people have a problem with in this medium is 
that it reminds them of being in school." 

While ideas about interactivity associated 
with videodisk will alter the passive 
relationship between the viewer and screen, the 
material presented on a disk will still be 
informed by the creative personality: writers, 
designers, producers and programmers. "It's a 
different experience writing Moby Dick than 
reading it," said Buckner, emphasizing that 
there's a lot of water to tread in the market- 
place before videodisk becomes a democratic 
technology like Kodak instamatics. 

Like Weinbren, D'Agostino and Kriegman, 



Buckner is interested in the non-linear quality 
of laserdisk. In a dream her metaphor for the 
possibilities of interactive videodisk were 
crystallized in an image she describes as 
"frozen music architecture." She is currently 
researching material for her first interactive 
videodisk narrative to be called Flight to 
Venus. Within her interpretation of narrative, 
humans are not the only ones in the universe to 
cause things to happen: any interaction of 
forces can tell a story and every noun is a poten- 
tial verb. Flight to Venus will attempt to 
transport the user through four universal 
worlds to reach the realm of Venus. Along the 
way Buckner would like the viewer to identify 
with plants. 

Because of high cost factors related to 
videodisk production, Buckner expects to look 
toward "other sources" outside granting insti- 
tutions to support this as well as future pro- 
jects. Due to the lack of available software in 
the videodisk/game industry, the time might 
be right to seek financing from commercial 
sources. The predominance of the "I shoot 
you, you're out of my way" brand of video 
game is a result of a limited target audience 
aimed primarily at adolescent boys. Buckner 
perceives a female market that game producers 
have been unable to exploit because little or no 
energy has been invested to determine what 
games girls would want to play. Like Ms. Pac 
Man in some respects, Flight to Venus might 
appeal to a more feminine sensibility by 
employing different methods to circumvent 
obstacles within the game that are non- 
militaristic, something enveloping rather than 
destructing. 

Buckner is not unaware of the " 1 ,000 poten- 
tial points of compromise" her work might be 
subjected to in a commercial venue. "It's a 
hard line to straddle," she said, adding that at 
33 she is beginning to realize the difficulties of 
making a living while still continuing to pro- 
duce her own work. 

PARTICIPATION TV 

In 1963 at a gallery in Wuppertal, West Ger- 1 
many, what artist exhibited the first video 
game — called "Participation TV"? Via a 
microphone, the voice of the viewer was re- 
amplified in order to manipulate the raster 
scan patterns seen on a television set. Step 
frame backwards for the correct answer. 
KIAP ENUJ MAN. ■ 

Special Thanks: Peter Crown and Jennifer 
Scanlin, Romulus Productions; Sheldon 
Renan; Siggraph, New York; David Gesh- 
wind; Nina Fonoroff; Ann-Sargent Wooster; 
and Stan Davis. • 

Material for this article was taken from 
numerous trade publications, newspapers, 
market studies, history books, and Walter 
Benjamin's article "The Work of Art in the 
Age of Mechanical Reproduction. " Illumina- 
tions, (Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.. 1968). 

Graphics by Teal Fraser. ; 

Joan Jubela is a video artist and freelance' 
writer who has contributed to Heresies. 




( 





THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 



Uptown Any Night: Selling 
To a Cable Stand -Atone 



DEBRA GOLDMAN 

While the ever -dwindling number of cable 
programming services continues to move away 
from the risks of special interest programming 
toward the security of the mass market, a few 
pockets of localism remain within the in- 
dustry. One such surviving phenomenon is the 
"stand-alone," a cablebiz term for a pay serv- 
ice programmed by an operator and marketed 
within a single system. Since cable operators' 
profits depend on earnings from pay, rather 
than basic services, a stand-alone can poten- 
tially provide a little revenue boost to the 
operator. At the same time it presents the 
operator with the challenge to respond, if not 
to the needs of the community, then at least to 
its specific consumer preferences. 

Uptown, Group W Cable's stand-alone in 
New York, bills itself as "Manhattan's 
Moviechannel." Offered exclusively to 86,000 
cable subscribers living on the upper half of 
Manhattan, it steers clear of both the Holly- 
wood blockbusters and the no-name B-movies 
which characterize its giant cousins, HBO and 
Showtime. Instead, the channel aims for what 
program manager Joshua Caplan calls "a New 
York flavor," which in practice translates into 
a schedule lifted straight from the tradition of 
the art house circuit. For well over a year, Up- 
town has been offering its subscribers subtitled 



European films, directors festivals, a women's 
film festival and even a "Tribute to the New 
York Film Festival" festival. It now claims 
1 8,000 subscribers who pay $6.95 per month to 
receive the service. 

An increasingly important element in the 
Uptown mix is independent film. Over the past 
year works such as Chan Is Missing, Girl- 
friends and The Atomic Cafe have been 
featured on Uptown. Last November, indies 
received their most prominent exposure yet 
when the channel premiered its first Indepen- 
dent Filmmakers festival. Predictably, Up- 
town's choices leaned towards well-known 
works. Three of the festival films, Eating 
Raoul, Lianna and Smithereens, had already 
earned name recognition through their 
theatrical releases. The fourth, On the Nickel, 
was self- financed, produced and directed by 
actor Ralph Waite, familiar to tube watchers 
from years on "The Waltons." 

It remains unlikely that, even in Manhattan, 
Uptown will ever risk showing any but the most 
highly visible independent films. However, the 
service is convinced that independents con- 
tribute to the "sophisticated filmgoers" am- 
bience Group W is trying to create, and the 
staff is actively looking for new independent 
product. In a recent effort to increase visibility 




AMERICAS 

IN TRANSITION 

The Committee of Latin American Film- 
makers, which has been in the process of 
defining its objectives in response to the 
ever-growing actitivies of Latin American 
cineastes, now publishes a magazine. 
Boletin de Cine covers distribution, 
festivals, nuts-and-bolts tips, addresses, 
essays in aesthetics, etc. It's available free 
at the AIVF office (625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
NY NY 10012). To subscribe send $5 (US) to 
Editado por Zafra. AC, Leonardo da Vinci No. 
82, MixcoalCP 03910, Mexico DF. 

Last December The Independent and 
Jorge Sanchez, one of the Boletin editors 
met at the Havana Film Festival and conclud- 
ed an exchange agreement between the 
magazines. So watch for translation of 
Boletin articles in upcoming Independents, 
and don 't be surprised if you see something 
familiar appear in Spanish in Boletin! 



Uptown Saturday night: Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop airs on Uptown cable this month. 

8 



to indie distributors, Uptown placed a first- 
time ad in the 1983 Independent Feature Proj- 
ect program. The service has already lined up 
its second independent festival, scheduled this 
month, which features Say A men, Somebody, 
Rosie the Riveter, Joe 's Bed Stuy Barbershop, 
Gal Young 'Un and Not a Pretty Picture. 

Caplan declined to be specific about how 
much Uptown pays for rights, claiming that 
each film is negotiated separately and that Up- 
town's fluctuating subscriber count figures in- 
to the formula. However, some filmmakers re- 
ported receiving between $ 1 ,500 to $2,500 for a 
feature, not a bad price given the low sums 
common in the industry and Uptown's so-far 
small subscribership. A typical contract gives 
Uptown non-exclusive rights from six months 
to a year, during which time the film is given 
eight to 10 showings. In its premiere month on 
the service a new film is likely to be seen four or 
five times at various hours of the week. 

Uptown did not always have such "film 
buff" appeal. The service was originally 
created in 1978 by Teleprompter, which then 
(along with Manhattan Cable) owned one of 
Manhattan's two franchises. Manhattan 
Cable clearly possessed the richer share, claim- 
ing all of the island south of 86th Street on the 
east side and south of 72nd Street on the west. 
By comparison, Teleprompter's franchise had 
half the subscriber base, and its area consisted 
largely of middle and lower-income multi- 
ethnic neighborhoods that led northward to 
black and Spanish Harlem. For these cus- 
tomers, Uptown packaged a mix that included 
Kung Fu flicks, action movies and soft-core 
adult entertainment. 

In May, 1982, Group W acquired the upper 
Manhattan franchise from Teleprompter. The 
multi-system operator was supportive of Up- 
town (it also owns Z Channel, another stand 
alone in Santa Monica, California), but the 
new vice president of programming, Janet 
Foster, wanted changes. For the franchise 
Group W bought was not the same one Tele- 
prompter had claimed more than a decade 
earlier. In the ensuing years, upper Manhat- 
tan, and in particular the Upper West Side , had 
become the place increasing numbers of 
"young professionals" called home. A pre- 

MARCH 1984 



dictable scenario of gentrification unfolded: 
skyrocketing rents, neighborhood cleaners 
transformed into chic ethnic restaurants, and 
corner candy stores reincarnated as upscale ice 
cream emporiums. On Broadway, an estab- 
lished porn theater closed its doors to be 
reborn as a revival house complete with art 
deco ambiance. Group W applied the same 
marketing logic to Uptown. As Caplan ex- 
plained, "The neighborhood was changing. 
The people were now more educated and had 
higher incomes." Bruce Lee was out, Liv 
Ulmann was in, and John Sayles was soon to 
follow. 

Uptown is betting on a proposition that in- 
dependents have long asserted: There is an au- 
dience for independent film. By itself, the ser- 
vice is hardly the answer to the hopes in- 
dependents once held for cable. But the stand- 
alone does represent a small vindication of the 
beleaguered narrowcasting concept. We can 
hope that the service's future subscriber count 
will prove both Uptown and independents to 
be right. 



In the Name of the People 
FlnSyn Fray Fizzles 

So you can't get on primetime television? 
Well, whatever chance you have will grow even 
slimmer if the networks have their way. For the 
past year, the Big Three have been lobbying 
hard to take the Financial Interest and Syn- 
dication Rules (FISR) off the books at the 
FCC . The rules , created in 1 970, sought to curb 
the networks' control over programming by 
forbidding them to own any financial interest 
in their primetime fare or to retain any syndica- 
tion rights in the first-run series they broad- 
cast. 

If the FISR has not resulted in a vast array of 
diverse programs, it at least has succeeded in 
redistributing some of the power in the televi- 
sion industry. Since it went into effect, 
Hollywood "independents" have put their 
mark on American primetime. Independent 
TV stations, with greater access to program- 
ming, have managed to chip away at network 
viewership. While the effects of the FISR have 
not trickled down very far, the rules remain an 
important government policy statement on the 
need for diverse programming sources and are 
an indispensable prerequisite to any indepen- 
dent involvement in the otherwise strictly closed 
world of broadcast television. 

Under the prodding of the networks, the 
FCC first began to reexamine the FISR under 
Carter's administration. A preliminary report 
submitted by the Network Inquiry Special 
Staff to the FCC in June 1980 concluded that 
the rules "have not led to more diverse 
programming types on the networks or in syn- 
dication, nor have they done anything to in- 
crease the number of viewing options available 
to the public at any given time. " It is only by a 
dizzying leap of logic, however, that one might 
conclude that since the solution has failed, it is 
best to reinstate the original problem. Yet this 
has been the approach of the FCC under chair- 
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man Mark Fowler, a leading ideological war- 
rior of the Reaganite free market. 

Fowler's well-known deregulatory fervor 
was synched up with the networks' argument 
that FISR blunted their competitive edge. It 
was they, the Big Three declared, who truly 
had the public interest at heart. Crying that 
new technologies (for which most of America 
is still waiting) threatened the future of "free 
TV," Croydon B. Dunham, executive vice 
president and general counsel of NBC, has 
tried to convince the public that the rules 
would "continue to limit diversity" and "con- 
tinue restraints against the development of 
small independent producers, including 
minority producers." 

Yet what sounded like common sense to 
Fowler's ear seemed like newspeak to inde- 
pendent producers and television stations. 
"Networks like to talk about the little guy, like 
a pet," Richard Reisberg, president of 
MGM/U A Television, told Variety. But if the 
rules were repealed, he warned, "this little guy 
will get the same chance he had pre-1970, 
which was none. " Although it stretches the im- 
agination to conceive of MGM/UA as a "little 
guy," the fin-syn debate has created a prover- 
bial "strange bedfellows" coalition. Big guns 
from Hollywood such as the Motion Picture 
Association of America (MPAA), MTM 
Enterprises and independent TV station owner 
organizations have joined with public interest 
lobbyists. Leading the public interest arm of 
the anti-repeal forces is the Committee Against 
Network Monopoly (CANM), whose mem- 
bers include AIVF, Media Access Project, 
Hispanic Telecommunications Network, Na- 
tional Association of Black-Owned Broad- 
casters and the Communications Commission 



of the National Council of Churches. Their ef- 
forts in Congress led to the introduction of 
sister legislation in the Senate and House to 
prohibit repeal of the FISR for a five-year 
period. 

In August, the undaunted FCC announced a 
"tentative decision" to repeal the rules, retain- 
ing certain limitations on network interests un- 
til 1992. Ironically, enforcing these proposed 
limitations would tax the regulatory agency to 
a greater extent than the present rules. Con- 
gress responded in late fall by placing a six- 
month moratorium on any final FCC action. 
The telling blow, however, was dealt by the 
Great Free Marketeer himself. Harking back 
to his Hollywood roots, President Reagan in- 
formed Congress that he supported a legis- 
latively-backed mandated moratorium on 
repeal . A wounded Fowler put on a brave face, 
promising Congress that the FCC would take 
no action until mid- 1984 . In the meantime, the 
networks, rebuffed by both Congress and the 
White House, agreed to sit down with the anti- 
repeal forces to create a settlement. But while 
the industry-linked Committee for Prudent 
Deregulation is sitting in on the meetings, 
CANM is not. 

It's doubtful that these interested parties 
have locked themselves in a room to discuss the 
public interest. MPAA president and ranking 
anti-repeal legislator Jack Valenti has promis- 
ed "to consult with consumer groups, public 
interest organizations, guilds and individual 
independent producers" before agreeing on 
any compromise. But his report to Senator 
Barry Goldwater on an early round of talks in- 
dicates that money was the single subject of 
discussion. By this time, the compromise may 
already have issued from the back room. If 




10 



Proposed changes in financial-interest & syndication rules provoked a battle of the titans in the name of d iversity. 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



not, Congress will once again tackle the ques- 
tion and the CANM lobbying effort will return 
to high gear. The prospects for a legislative vic- 
tory are good. 

Throughout this debate, "diversity" has 
been a key buzzword, with all parties claiming 
to be its friend. But it would be naive to im- 
agine that diversity, as alternative filmmakers 
understand it, will necessarily result from 
retention of the FISR. At the same time, it's 
certain that without the rules, such diversity 
will be almost impossible. — DG 



EZTV Offers Off-Off 
Video in an LA Mali 

I've always been big on the idea that one's 
own community is often the source and influ- 
ence for one's work. And this proposion may 
be just as true in Hollywood as in East Harlem . 
What other explanation could there be for a 
Los Angeles gallery show of indie video fare 
headlined by tapes like Blonde Death and 
Faculty Wives'! It's the Hollywood indie com- 
munity which has spawned EZTV, its own 
video theater and production facility. 




VIDEO GALLERY 

EZTV is a place where videomakers refer to 
their tapes as movies. Where dreams and pro- 
jects come true after all the majors have let you 
down. EZTV is, as former "La Mama"-ite 
Phoebe Wray says, "off -Off networks." 

Soft-spoken founder and director John 
Dorr opened the gallery in June 1983 in a tiny 
split-level room on the second floor of a West 
Hollywood shopping mall. He calls it "the 
box. " I'd say it more closely resembles an over- 
sized loft bed. 

"When we first opened, no one had any idea 
of what this space was. The idea of showing 
video in theatrical situations was unheard of," 
explained Dorr. Fortunately the press has been 
good to the gallery. During its nine-month 
lifetime it has already been featured in Variety, 
the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Week- 
ly and American Film, among others. As a 
result EZTV has been able to attract enough of 
an audience to keep alive four night screenings 
per week — quite a feat in the city of 70mm 
Dolby. 

Production and post-production activities 
followed, taking advantage of the two 26 "col- 
or monitors and % " videocassette decks 

MARCH 1984 



already being used for the screenings. The gal- 
lery's Vi " and Vi " color portapaks and lights 
are owned by EZTV or donated by its 
members, who include locals from the Holly- 
wood area with motivations similar to Dorr's 
own. "My background is as a frustrated per- 
son who'd like to make Hollywood movies," 
explained Dorr, "and with video you can make 
it rather cheaply. There are quite a few people 
around [EZTV] like that. All of the original 
people here have traditional film back- 
grounds." 

As a result, the program menu includes a 
preponderance of feature-length narratives 
such as Dorr's Dorothy and Alan at Norma 
Place, based on the life of Dorothy Parker; a 
teleplay entitled Last Quarter Moon, taped at 
Los Angeles' MET Theater; and James Dil- 
linger's infamous Blonde Death, featuring 
Tammy the Teenage Timebomb's rampage 
through Orange County. 

Beth van der Water, who coproduced 
Dreamland Court with EZTV and the Long 
Beach Museum of Art Video Annex, agreed 
that the shadow of the industry is very much a 
part of the Southland indie milieu. "The peo- 
ple that I work with right now are all profes- 
sionals. They're quite happy to get away from 
the inundating realms of filmmaking — like 
SAG contracts. Most of them work within the 
industry, but they want to work on something 
they really believe in." For instance, Good 
Grief, an indie tape by Susan Rogers shown at 
EZTV, featured actress Lois Chiles of 
"Dallas." 

Yet not all of the videomakers associated 
with EZTV are Hollywood-inspired or aspir- 
ing. Phoebe Wray, who first learned video at 
EZTV, explained, "I'm trying to see what 
video can do that film can 't . " She uses video as 
an electronic "intruder or eavesdropper. " The 
gallery's programing includes an eclectic mix 
of experimental, video art and documentary 
tapes as well as a sci-fi talk show hosted by 
radio personality Mike Hodel. Dorr also does 
not preclude showing film dubbed to tape. 

EZTV operates as a semi-cooperative, with 
each of the approximately 25 members paying 
a $50 fee for access to the equipment. Non- 
members pay a low $ 1 5 per hour for use of the 
post-production facilities. 

Indie video venues in Los Angeles are rare 
commodities, and videomakers indicated that 
they are willing to contribute their works for 
screening because of the exposure afforded to 
both the press and public. Among the few 
other indie screening facilities mentioned to 
me were Club Lahsa, LACE, the Space Gallery 
and the Long Beach Museum of Art, un- 
doubtedly the premiere video facility in 



NATIONAL DRIVES DOWN 
RATES FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

Your membership now entitles you to a 10% 
discount off unlimited mileage rates and 40% 
off regular rates at National Car Rental and 
its affiliates worldwide. So don't forget to use 
your automobile rental card! 




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surveys of U.S. Cable, the best video 
sources, schools, festivals, and magazines. 
Paper $11 95. 

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Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery 



11 



GET ACTIVE 

Join an AIVF Committee 

Committee work is the engine that drives 
organizations like AIVF, and gives them power 
beyond their immediate resources. 

AIVF committees have helped forge and im- 
plement policies regarding Advocacy, Member- 
ship, Development and our educational programs. 
Work with your most active colleagues and with 
AlVF's board and staff to achieve our goals 
together. For more information, or to join a com- 
mittee, write or call AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th 
Floor, NY NY 10012, (212)473-3400. 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce the initiation 
of a discount program of film and video pro- 
duction services for its members in the New 
York area. The companies listed below will 
offer discounts to AIVF members upon 
presentation of a membership card. We 
hope that this program will foster closer 
cooperation between independent pro- 
ducers and companies that provide produc- 
tion services. 

20/20 Productions 
Tom Garber 

1 74 Spring St. 

New York (212) 966-2971 

10% discount on all 3 A " and '/? " shooting 
packages. 

Editing facilities also available Please call for cur- 
rent rates. 

TVC Labs 

Roaoann Schaeffor, MP Sales 

311 West 43 St. 

New York (212) 397-8600 

Negotiable discounts on services. 

Camera Mart 

Leo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 West 55 St. 

New York (212) 757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film and video 
equipment, with some specific exceptions. Larger 
discounts may be available for rentals of long dura- 
tion or for favorable payment terms. 

Raflk 

814 Broadway 

New York (212) 475-91 10 

25% discount on straight rental of screening 
room, rentals on cameras and sales of used 
videocassettes. 15% discount on use of editing 
facilities. All other supplies at discount rates; 
special deals available. 

Rough Cut Video Services 
Jack Walworth 

129 West 22 St. 
New York (212) 242-1914 

10% across-the-board discount on all services, in- 
cluding 3 /> " productions, % " editing and VHS to 
3 A " transfers. 

AIVF would like to thank these companies 
for participating. Any other firms who wish to 
be included, please call (212) 473-3400. 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Southern California. Non-broadcast video is 
new to Los Angeles, and cracking its audience 
may be one of Hollywood's last entertainment 
frontiers. Super-8 and video producer Ken 
Camp remarked on the uneven attendance at 
EZTV screenings: "I have a horrible feeling 
that people don't go because they don't want 
to go across town to watch TV. I don't go out 
myself. I watch everything at home." 

Dorr is moving towards distribution as a 
supplementary outlet for tapes screened and 
produced at EZTV. But he also remains op- 
timistic about the gallery's potential draw, and 



has instituted such enticements as "midnight 
outrages," play-of-the-month tapes and "art 
world happenings." When EZTV opened last 
June, its New Orleans Square mall location 
was a "virtual ghost town." The mall has since 
turned around, with more foot and car traffic 
and the establishment of several new video- 
related businesses. Dorr even hopes to open a 
screening room at the 14-screen Cineplex in 
nearby Beverly Center someday. Who knows? 
After all, this is Hollywood. (EZTV is located 
at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd., #11, West 
Hollywood, CA 90069.) —ReneeTajima ■ 



WEST INDIES 



Building a Voice: 
Lobbying Group Forms 



FENTON JOHNSON 

"West Indies" is an occasional column 
devoted to news & issues from the West Coast. 
Send your press releases & suggestions to Fen- 
ton Johnson, Film Arts Foundation, 346 
Ninth St., San Francisco CA 94103; (415) 
552-8760. 

With 1978 Telecommunications Act re- 
authorization hearings scheduled this spring, a 
coalition of West Coast media organizations 
and individuals is moving to lobby for in- 
dependent producers' concerns. The coalition 
includes representatives from the four largest 
media organizations in the Bay Area, with a 
combined membership of over 3,700. For the 
first time, Film Arts Foundation, Bay Area 
Video Coalition, Video Free America and 
Media Alliance have joined forces to pursue 
collective goals. AIVF helped catalyze the 
West Coast lobbying coalition by co-sponsor- 
ing public TV hearings in San Francisco last 
fall. 

In its first and most significant action so far, 
the coalition engineered a mailing to its own 
members and the members of Washington 
state's Focal Point, Oregon's Media Project, 
southern California's Independent Feature 
Project and the western states members of 
AIVF. The mailing presented a nine-point 
platform, and included a sample letter to 
members of Congress asking that they support 
the platform at the spring hearings. 

Though coalition members used the AIVF 
position paper already presented to CPB as a 
starting point, there are differences worth 
noting. The coalition declined to advocate the 
Center for Independent Television called for in 
the AIVF platform on the grounds that it 
would add another layer of bureaucracy whose 
responsiveness would be difficult to enforce. 
Instead, the West Coasters call for direct fund- 
ing—insulated from station and consortia — of 



12 



indies. The coalition also advocates the 
establishment of regular consultative struc- 
tures among indies, CPB and PBS, with an eye 
to improving public television's dismal record 
on carriage and publicity for indie programs. 

Depending on which coalition member 
you're talking to, the mailing's objective varies 
from "education" to "confrontation." The 
first of these goals raises few enough hackles. 
In a town where politics rate among the fine 
arts, San Francisco's indies have been a 
notoriously quiescent crowd. "There may be a 
time for confrontation, but I'm much more in- 
terested in a clear, reasoned approach," said 
Skip Sweeney, co-director of Video Free 
America and a coalition member. Sweeney 
worries that if indies make too much noise, 
they may risk losing outright the financial 
gains they made through the 1978 legislation. 

In contrast, coalition member Larry 
Daressa, president of California Newsreel, ad- 
vocates a much more activist line, contending 
that the mailing itself was a gesture of confron- 
tation. But, Daressa concedes, "Most of the 
coalition members have been uninvolved. 
They've not seen themselves as functioning 
politically regarding CPB and PBS." 

If Sweeney and Daressa represent the coali- 
tion's extremes, Bay Area Video Coalition 
director Morrie Warshawski is the voice of its 
center. Warshawski identified education as the 
mailing's principle goal, noting that on the 
West Coast it's difficult keep current with ac- 
tivity 3,000 miles away. 

Still, Warshawski spoke out strongly in 
favor of direct action now. "What's wrong 
with making a little noise? All of us support 
CPB — that's the first plank of the platform. 
Now's the time for us to let CPB and Congress 
know we have a large voice and constituency 
and can make things happen." 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



"Ideally, we'd like a first-time meeting 
among representatives of independents, CPB, 
PBS and the National Association of Public 
Television Stations (N APTS) prior to the hear- 
ings, so we can work with them to present a 
unified front to Congress," said Julie 
Mackaman, co-director of Film Arts Founda- 
tion. "Barring that, we can only step up efforts 
to appeal directly to Congress." 

Coalition and AI VF Board member Richard 
Schmiechen, who works both in New York and 
San Francisco, underlined the importance of a 
unified West Coast voice in public broad- 
casting. "From the first, AIVF has made ad- 
vocacy a priority," he said. "Here I know in- 
dividuals who have been doing advocacy for 
years, but no institution focuses on it." 

Schmiechen recalled that when Lewis Freed- 
man headed the CPB Program Fund, "He had 
a tendency to say to AIVF, 'You only represent 
a narrow constituency,' when in fact all pro- 
ducers were upset . . . CPB and Program Fund 
need constant oversight. The presence of a 
West Coast group can only help in that." 



Like the outcome of the Telecommunica- 
tions Act hearings, the coalition's future is 
uncertain. Mackaman emphasized its current 
ad hoc status. "It simply grew out of an urgent 
need for independents not to sleep through the 
reauthorization hearings," she said. But 
building a coalition around one issue may be 
the first step to a much larger strategy for Bay 
Area advocacy. Responding to questions 
about the coalition's future, Mackaman held 
up a $10 check, the coalition's first donation. 
"We're on our way." 

For information on the Western Coalition 
for an Independent Voice in Public Broad- 
casting, contact the Film Arts Foundation, 346 
Ninth Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 552-8760. To make a contribu- 
tion, make your check payable to Film Arts 
Foundation/ Western Coalition. ■ 

Fenton Johnson is a freelance media writer 
and the media coordinator of the Film Arts 
Foundation, a service organization for West 
Coast film and videomakers. 



IN FOCUS 



Tape-to-Film Is Far 
Along but Has Far to Go 



DAVID LEITNER 

At last October's American Independent 
Feature Film Market in New York, word got 
around that Rob Nilsson's Signal 7 was shot 
and edited in l A " video, then transferred to 
35mm. Attending the screening were as many 
filmmakers as buyers, suggesting that other 
producers had been thinking about low-budg- 
et, high-quality tape-to-film. Afterwards, 
many marvelled at how far along tape-to-film 
had come — others at how far it had to go. 

The story of the production of Signal 7 is 
enlightening, if atypical. Producing a 35mm 
feature was not his original goal, says Nilsson, 
who's perhaps best known as co-director (with 
John Hanson) of the classic independent 
feature Northern Lights. Two-and-a-half 
years on the road in search of investment for 
On the Edge, a 35mm feature Nilsson directed 
and is presently cutting, had imparted "a need 
to reassert the fact that we were artists and not 
just fundraisers." With no cash on hand for 
raw stock or processing, Nilsson seized upon 
an opportunity to experiment with taping. 

Realizing he couldn't afford to shoot his 
original feature-length script, Nilsson instead 
excerpted an evening in the life of the main 
characters. Marty and Speed, a pair of middle- 
aged San Francisco cab drivers, ply the lanes at 
night while letting slip their shared dream of 
making it big as actors. The eight excerpted 
MARCH 1934 



scenes, which provide the famework for im- 
provisation, include a decertification vote at 
the cab driver's union hall, a desperate audi- 
tion for a part in Waiting for Lefty, and the 
robbery-murder of a fellow cabbie. 

Since the original script was written for 
them, the actors playing Marty and Speed had 
locked down their characters. The supporting 
actors, who played additional cabbies and 
fares, were auditioned with an inexpensive 
Trinicon camera and a small Betamax SL-2000 
deck. Reflecting Nilsson's background in im- 
provisational theater, they were encouraged to 
write long character descriptions on their own. 
Taped rehearsals followed which were in- 
tended to "create prehistories for all the char- 
acters in relationship to each other" and "find 
the way a scene would work before actually 
shooting it." 

BETA MA X SKETCH PAD 

The Betamax taping proved "a real helpful 
sketch pad . " (Maybe Coppola was onto some- 
thing?) Although there wasn't an attempt to 
write down precise lines, every scene was re- 
hearsed and developed. Nilsson cites jazz, 
which "has a form and structure, but then 
there's a solo," as a model. 

Abandoning as unworkable his initial whim 
to tape a continuous feature-length take (there 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



wasn't a long enough 3 A " cassette anyway), 
Nilsson scheduled four nights of taping, later 
adding two more. A hand-held, two-camera 
technique was chosen: one camera on the main 
action, the other for such coverage as cutaways 
and reaction shots. As luck would have it, 
Nilsson discovered the San Francisco Produc- 
tion Group, a start-up video facilities house 
that , intrigued with the Signal 7project , agreed 
to share costs and equipment. As a result, they 
offered two superb Ikegami HL-79 DAL low- 
light cameras and portable Sony BVU record- 
ing decks. 

With minor exceptions, Nilsson used avail- 
able light. The fluorescent interiors of the 
DeSoto Cab Company driver's room and ga- 
rage were sometimes "augmented" with addi- 
tional fluorescents for overall level, and 12 v. 
floods powered by car battery were mounted 
outside a cab's windshield for front-seat fill. 
The resulting images were unusually dark for 
video, with much shadow detail disappearing 
into the pedestal. A decision was nevertheless 
made to forgo the camera's gain (diminished 
signal-to-noise ratio; for example, a + 6 db in- 
crease in gain resembles a 1 stop push in film) 
and avoid the consequent amplification of 
noise. The shallow depth of field obtained us- 
ing the Fujinon zooms at their wide aperture of 
f/1.7 and the predominance of close-ups 
established Signal Ts decidedly low-key, in- 
timate yet veiled look. 

The audio was miked conventionally, and 
the signal was split and sent to an audio track of 
each BVU-1 10. (The other audio track record- 
ed time code.) A remote monitor for each 
camera was on hand, as well as an intercom to 
each camera operator. "I had a lot of control if 
I wanted it," recalled Nilsson, "but I wanted 
everyone to be improvising, including the 
camera people and certainly the sound guy." 
With tape rolling continuously for each cam- 
era, a cutting ratio of 22:1 resulted. (A far cry 
from that single take!) 

VIDEO EDIT 

Editing was accomplished off-line by dub- 
bing the original 3 A " onto a second 3 A " with 
video time code visibly displayed in a little 
"window" on the frame. This could then be 
edited on any 3 A " machine. When the edit was 
complete, the editor, pencil in hand, copied a 
list of edit points using the time code designa- 
tions. This decision list determined the as- 
sembly of the original 3 A "as it was conformed on 
line to a Type C 1 " master at the San Francisco 
Production Group's facility. 

With no previous video editing experience, 
Nilsson found 3 A " editing "quite interesting 
and exciting." One major frustration, how- 
ever, was the tendency for 3 A " image quality to 
deteriorate every time a further dub was re- 
quired to accomplish a cut. "For us, after five 
or six dubs, it was almost unwatchable. It 
would sometimes break up so badly we'd have 
to use a special-time base corrector to get an 
image that wouldn't roll over." 

After the edit was complete, dialogue was re- 
recorded onto a 24-track tape, utilizing time- 

14 



code capabilities. Nilsson decided to go whole- 
hog with the mix, since "you have marginal 
sound to begin with if you're recording on 3 A " 
video." ("Something we wouldn't do again," 
he notes. "I would do it double-system on a 
Nagra with time code.") Additional tracks 
were completed, and the audio was eventually 
mixed to an interlocked 35mm print. 

ELECTRONIC BEAM RECORDING 
TRANSFER 

What most impressed (or dismayed) the 
cognoscenti gathered at the IFP was the visual 
quality of the 35mm print. A very sophis- 
ticated method of transferring the electronic 
signal to film, Electron Beam Recording, was 
employed by Image Transform of North 
Hollywood, California. EBR is much more 
than a kinescope process, whose basic con- 
figuration, a 16mm aimed point-blank into a 
monitor, hasn't changed much since the pre- 
video tape days of live television. With EBR, 
the electron beam that would ordinarily scan 
the phosphors of the monitor strikes the 1 6mm 
film directly, writing an image on each unex- 
posed frame. 

Actually, the single microscopic electron 
beam can't directly impart color to film. In- 
stead, the red, green and blue components of 
each film frame are recorded sequentially on 
three frames of Kodak 7360, a little-used 
black-and-white "autopositive," similar to 
microfilm, with ten times the resolving power 
of 7291. The real-time 7360 recording takes 
place continuously in a vacuum chamber at 3 
x 24, or 72 frames/second. Upon developing, 
an optical printer pin-registers and superim- 
poses each triad of positive images through a 
sequence of red, green and blue narrow-band 
dichroic filters to expose a composite color 
frame of 7291 or, in Nilsson's case, 5247 (the 
reverse of the old Technicolor three-strip pro- 
cess). 

The color/contrast possibilities of this elec- 
tronic and photographic combination are 
enormous. The red, green, blue, cyan, magen- 
ta and yellow levels of the video signal are in- 
dependently adjustable before the transfer, 
and conventional film timing is available after- 
wards. Don Nikkinen, production supervisor 
at Image Transform, points out that "in film 
you can make it lighter or darker, change a col- 
or here or there, but it affects everything else. 
In video, you can adjust black levels and leave 
white levels alone." As an exercise in low-light 
recording — on 3 A " nonetheless — Signal 7 
leaned heavily on the potential of electronic 
scene-to-scene color correction and black level 
manipulation. 

SCAN BAN SOL UTION 

The Image Transform process is particularly 
notable for its abolition of scan lines. Each 
scan line is increased in thickness until it 
seamlessly meets the neighboring line, top and 
bottom. Increasing the diameter of the elec- 
tron beam's spot would undermine horizontal 
resolution, so instead the horizontally scan- 



ning pin-point of electron is "wobbled" up 
and down in a tight sawtooth pattern. This 
high-frequency wobble has the appearance of 
stretching the scan line in the vertical direction 
only, filling the unsightly gap. Because this 
technique is part of an overall signal processing 
that relies on a four-frame averaging of 
data — four successive frames at a time are 
stored and analysed for areas of common 
detail so that sophisticated noise reduction can 
eliminate spurious discrepancies — scan lines 
are sometimes momentarily visible at junc- 
tures of sudden movement, such as scene cuts. 

There's a limit to the miracles Image 
Transform can perform: tape-to-film is still 
tape-to-film. Richard Claghorn, the former 
manager of Image Transform's lab whom 
Nilsson admiringly credits for his inspired 
moral and technical support during the Signal 
7transfer, says: "Let's say you took a good 1 " 
C-format videotape and did the very best 
recording — you've got a really high-quality, 
broadcast videotape — what you have when 
you've finished that project is about as much 
resolution as you've got on Super-8 film." 
Anyone who's examined one of Bob Brodsky's 
S-8 video transfers or Rune Ericson's S-8-to- 
35mm blow-ups would be empirically inclined 
to agree. 

While the particulars of the Signal /experi- 
ment are intriguing, the original question per- 
sists: Is tape-to-film a viable production alter- 
native in the real world of commercial distribu- 
tion? Certain financial considerations say yes. 
The upfront money needed to bankroll the 
film production can be sidestepped, and that 
can change a red light to green. Signal /other- 
wise "would never have been done, because 
from the git-go we never had any kind of cash 
in the bank," argues Nilsson. And while the 
budget ultimately weighed in at $150,000 plus 
deferrals, this included Image Transform's 
transfer/blow-up bill for $20,000, slightly 
below the average cost of a conventional 
16mm-to-35mm feature blow-up. 

From the standpoint of technical considera- 
tions, the answer is not so clear. Many at the 
IFP screening, including myself, felt that the 
image was often blurry and murky to the point 
of distraction. Perhaps a transfer from orig- 
inal 1 ", such as Sony's fabulous new EFP- 
quality Vi " Betacam format, which is far 
superior to 3 A " would fare better. In fact, 
that's exactly how Richard Pryor's recent con- 
cert film Here and Now was produced. Taped 
in 1 ", it was transferred by Image Transform to 
35mm for mass release. Although the results 
often looked soft, only one major critic cited 
the subpar "camerawork" in print. 

Indeed, concert tape-to-films — from the 
1964 T.A.M.I. Show to the 1981 Monty 
Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, taped in 
Image Vision — have posted a reasonably good 
track record, presumably because the audience 
is less critical toward the visuals. Serious 
dramatic ventures such Michelangelo Anton- 
ioni's 1979 Mystery ofOberwald and Emile de 
Antonio's 1982 In the King of Prussia have 
failed to obtain conventional distribution. 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



While other factors were involved in each of 
these examples, it's clear that compromised 
image quality lengthens the odds against secur- 
ing serious attention from distributors. A deci- 
sion to plan a tape-to-film project at this point 
should be weighed carefully, for it would be a 



Pyrrhic victory to successfully pull off a low- 
budget video production only to be later 
denied access to theater audiences on account 
of perceived technical inadequacy. ■ 

David Leitner is an independent producer 
who works at Du Art Film Labs in NY. 









— 


Association of Independent 


Barbara Kopple 


George Stoney 


Video and Filmmakers. Inc. 


independent producer 


independent producer 


ADVISORY BOARD 




David Lubell 


/professor 






attorney 


Dan Talbot 


Ed Asner 


Emile de Antonio 


Midge MacKenzie 


New Yorker Films 


actor 


director/writer 


attorney 


Jesus Trevino 


John Avildsen 


Dou Dou Diene 


Brock Peters 


independent producer 


director 


UNESCO 


actor/producer 


Claudia Weill 


Erik Barnouw 


Ralph Donnelly 


George Pillsbury 


independent producer 


broadcast historian 


Cinema 5 


The Funding Exchange 


Cora Weiss 


Jeanine Basinger 


John Hanhardt 


Jack Sheinkman 


foundation executive 


Wesleyan University 
Les Brown 


Whitney Museum 
Chas. Floyd Johnson 


Amalgamated Clothing 
& Textile Wkrs. 


Robert Wise 

director 


CHANNELS magazine 


producer 


Joan Shigekawa 


Ken Wlaschin 


James Day 


Joanne Koch 


independent producer 


London Film Festival 


Children 's Television 


Film Society, 


Fran Spielman 




Workshop 


Lincoln Center 


First Run Features 





SUMMARY OF AIVF MINUTES 



The AIVF and FIVF Boards of Directors 
met on January 5, 1984. Full minutes are 
available on request. A summary of the 
minutes follows: 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT: 
Lawrence Sapadin reviewed the process by 
which AIVF's public television position 
paper draft was developed: advocacy 
committee meetings following last March's 
heated membership meeting; circulation of 
an option paper to the media arts center 
community at the AFI/CPB documentary 
conference last April (10th-12th) and in 
The Independent (June 1983); public 
meetings this fall in New York and San 
Francisco (see "West Indies," this issue). 

Sapadin also reported that he and other 
AIVF members had begun to meet with 
Congressional staff from the House 
Telecommunications Subcommittee to dis- 
cuss the draft proposal . He also initiated in - 
formal discussions with CPB staff about a 
possible negotiating session between CPB 
and representatives of the independent pro- 
ducer community to head off a confronta- 
tion on Capitol Hill. 

West Coast board member Howard 
Petrick reported that the meeting in San 
Francisco on independents and public TV 
resulted in the formation of a West Coast 
coalition which has drafted its own plat- 
form. The position paper, which tracks 
much of the AIVF proposal, has been sent 
to over 2,300 people. West Coasters are 
beginning to meet with their local 
legislators to press their demands. 

PTV RECOMMENDATIONS AP- 
PROVED— After some tinkering with the 
language proposing the establishment of a 



Center for Independent TV Production, 
and the addition of an EEO clause, the 
AIVF Board formally approved the AIVF 
PTV recommendations. 

VIDEO REPRESENTATION BEEFED 

UP — In recognition of underrepresenta- 
tion of the video art comunity on the FIVF 
board, the Board voted to seat Martha 
Rosier, Dara Birnbaum (currently an alter- 
nate) and Mary Lucier. 

DUES INCREASE A UTHORIZED— Due 

to increased costs and a slower increase in 
paid memberships currently, the AIVF 
Board authorized a dues increase to $35 for 
regular members and $20 for students. 
Management will hold off the increase for 
as long as possible, but no later than July 1 , 
1984, the beginning of the next fiscal year. 
Last dues increase was in early 1980. 

SILKSCREENCONTRO VERSY— Board 
Member Loni Ding reported that, although 
PBS had cleared Silkscreen (a series of 
Asian American-produced programs pack- 
aged by the National Asian American 
Telecommunications Assoc.) for airing, 
WNET (New York) threatened to pull the 
first two shows because of disapproval of 
updates that had been added to them by 
NAATA. AIVF agreed to participate in a 
press conference protesting WNET's in- 
terference and to join in other plans for sup- 
porting NAATA. 

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 pm, 
March 8, 1 984 at AIVF (625 Broadway, 9th 
floor, NY NY 10012). Call to confirm: 
(212) 473-3400. Meetings are open to the 
public. ■ 



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MARCH 1984 



16 



THE INDEPENDENT 




. Lights, Camera . . . 
Affirmative Action 



Filmmakers aren't born, they're made. 

How the UCLA Ethno-Communications program of 

the 60s changed the color of independent filmmaking. 



RENEE TAJIMA 



It is ironic that Hollywood has of late 
become enamored with the portrayal of 60's 
rebels now grown up — as if to prove the in- 
dustry mill can swallow any social convulsion 
and spit it out pasteurized. But the media itself 
was not shielded from the times, as Third 
World and progressive peoples demand- 
ed — and won — not only a presence within it 
but a redefinition of its form and content. 

The Ethno-Communications program, 
which began in 1968 at the University of 
California at Los Angeles (UCLA), was one 
catalyst to that movement. As an affirmative 
action program Ethno-Communications 
opened the door to Asian American, Black, 
Chicano and Native American students in 
significant numbers for the first time. As a film 
training program it went far beyond the tradi- 
tions of form-conscious but conscience-less 
preparation for the industry. 

"The Ethno-Communications students 
were trying to find leaders in their com- 
munity — like political leaders, or Chicano art- 
ists — and make films about them," explained 
Sylvia Morales, who is currently the executive 
director of the Latino Program Consortium 
and the producer of Los Lobos: A Time to 
Dance. In her first year at UCLA prior to the 
Ethno Program, Morales was the only Chi- 
cana in the entire film department and, she 
recalls, "The non-color students were involved 
with films concerning relationships, personal 
films. But for us there was a sense of urgency, 
so we set aside our desire to make personal 
films in order to make ones which reflected our 
communities." 

These students were not alone in their chal- 

Above photo: Ethno grads Eddie Wong & Robert 
Nakamura shoot a Visual Communications film in Los 
Angeles, 1972. 

16 



lenge to the status quo. The independent film 
movement was beginning to take shape at the 
time, and many Ethno alumni went on to join 
its ranks. The films produced since, with a 
strong commitment to the visual articulation 
of their people's history, have their moorings 
in the spirit which infused the Ethno program. 
Prominent among the Ethno graduates are 
Asian American and Chicano independent 
producers who have remained in the Los 
Angeles area, home to both the nation's largest 
Asian and Chicano communities and the 
movie industry. The way in which the Ethno- 
Communications program changed the color 
of independent filmmaking, the success of its 
graduates and their ongoing work within their 
own communities are all an antidote to 
present-day attacks on affirmative action pro- 
grams. 

BEFORE ETHNO 

1968 at the UCLA film department: Francis 
Ford Coppola had just completed his MFA. 
There were two Chicanos in the graduate and 
undergraduate programs combined with a 
handful of other minority students. If the 
media industry was a bastion of the status quo, 
then film schools trained its palace guard. In 
1968, film studies at UCLA was as it had 
always been. 

Elsewhere on campus and across the coun- 
try, minority students were organizing with 
demands for affirmative action and ethnic 
studies and agitating against the Vietnam war. 
At UCLA, Campbell Hall was transformed in- 
to the left- American equivalent of the Harvard 
Center for International Affairs, housing 
Afro-American, Asian American, Chicano 
and Indian studies. And in that same year the 
new political realities hit the film school full 
gale. 



Moctezuma Esparza is the executive pro- 
ducer of The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, a 
three-hour indie feature about a legendary 
Mexican hero. In 1968 Esparza was a history 
student and organizer active in the founding of 
UCLA's Moviemento Estudiantil Chicano de 
Aztlan (MECHA). He was asked by Elyseo 
Taylor, the only Black (and only minority) pro- 
fessor on the faculty of the film department, to 
join the newly-formed Media Urban Crisis 
Committee (MUCC). With a dozen other mi- 
nority students as well as sympathetic faculty 
such as white profesor John Young, the 
MUCC group, dubbed the "Mother Muccers," 
was organized. 

The original 13 Muccers staged sit-ins and 
protests to successfully agitate for affirmative 
action in the film department, resulting in the 
formation of the pilot program for Ethno- 
Communications which established the pro- 
gram's basic structure. According to Esparza, 
the curriculum was modeled after the depart- 
ment's existing course of instruction. Each stu- 
dent produced a short S-8 and 16mm film, 
followed by a thesis film. Some additional 
workshops or seminars were established in 
Third World aesthetics and community- 
related issues. But the singularity of Ethno 's 
curriculum lay in the types of films produced 
which, in turn, reflected the program's 
philosophy. 

"Ethno-Communications gave them [Black 
students] a sense of purpose because the film 
department lacked structure," explained 
Black filmmaker Charles Burnett {My 
Brother's Wedding, Killer of Sheep)whov/asa. 
teaching assistant in the progam. "Ethno- 
Communications had a definite purpose — to 
demystify filmmaking and get it out to the 
Black community, to get stories about Black 
people on film." 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



The essentially political orientation of the 
Ethno program was evident in the film Re- 
quiem 29, a major production of the pilot 
group (along with teaching assistant David 
Garcia). The 31 -minute film documents the 
anti-war Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 
1970 in East Los Angeles, and the subsequent 
inquest which implicated Los Angeles police in 
the shooting of reporter Ruben Salazar. 

MOTHER MUCCERS 

GO FOR TH A ND MUL TIPL Y 

As Native American filmmaker Sandy 
Osawa recalls the heady times, "You could 
really feel the presence of minorities on cam- 
pus; I became aware of minority and media 
issues." Osawa quit her job to join the Ethno 
program. She now runs Upstream Produc- 
tions, an independent video and graphic arts 
company with her husband Yasu, another 
Ethno graduate. 

The original 1 3 students made films together 
and agitated together. One of their key vic- 
tories was pushing an admissions quota policy 
through the student-faculty senate. According 
to Esparza, who was appointed to the body, 
the new policy mandated that 25% of all en- 
trants to the undergraduate and graduate film 
programs should be from minority groups. 
Said Burnett of the affirmative action policy, 
"I thought it was absolutely necessary to set up 
a quota system because no one [at UCLA] took 
the responsibility of getting minorities into the 
program. To be quite honest, no one gave a 
damn." Burnett had been one of four Black 
Americans in the film program for the two 
years prior to Ethno-Communications. The 
"Mother Muccers" became active in recruiting 
succeeding classes, beginning with the 1970 en- 
trants who constituted the first full Ethno pro- 
gram. 

THE MO VEMENT IS THE MESS A GE 

Ethri3 students were recruited from within 
UCLA and other area colleges, as well as from 
local communities. The recruitment and in- 
volvement of Asian American students is a 
history in itself. Asian Americans in the 
original 1 3 group — such as Betty Chen, Danny 
Kwan and Brian Maeda, all of whom con- 
tinued in filmmaking — cooperated with the 
UCLA Asian American Studies Center to find 
candidates from wilthin the Asian American 
community. Recruitees were found in inter- 
connected movement organizations such as 
the anti-war community newspaper Gidra, the 
Asian American Student Alliance, and the 
"community college" which had been 
established during the summer of 1969 by 
future Ethno student Robert Nakamura, now 
a professor in the film department, and several 
other community professionals. Classmates 
Duane Kubo, Steven Tatsukawa and Eddie 
Wong would later join Nakamura to form the 
nucleus of Visual Communications, an Asian 
American production cooperative. 

The Ethno program became the training 
ground for extending the movement work and 

MARCH 1984 



social concerns of its students. Tatsukawa 
remembers a special production class which 
was put together to "hit the road for a few 
weeks in California" to study location work. 
The Black Panthers in San Francisco, agricul- 
tural workers in the central California Loc 
region, Chicano Studies at Berkeley, and the 
Bay Area Native American Center were sub- 
jects of the workshop projects. Tatsukawa 




Larry Clark's Passing Through, an early Ethno- 
Communications film, was acclaimed in Moscow. 

says, "These visits stimulated films. The Loc 
footage became a Visual Communications 
film on Asian American farmworkers in the 
Delta entitled Pieces of a Dream. " 

Like Requiem 29, which won a Bronze 
Medal at the Atlanta International Film Fes- 
tival, several early and significant Third World 
films came out of the program. Black film- 
maker Larry Clark's Passing Through won the 
Grand Prize at the Moscow International Film 
Festival. Nakamura's Manzanar and Wong's 
Wong Sinsaang were widely distributed as 
Visual Communications' initial film reper- 
toire. Nakamura recalls, "One of the most 
memorable things is Project l , your first com- 
plete film on Super-8. After we completed it we 
put together a show, 'View from the Third 
World,' with about 50 short films. The 
Chicanos did things on the riots in the 60's, the 
Asian Americans did the [internment] camps — 
it 's one of the best programs I ' ve ever attended 
of Third World films. They were rough but 
they had a lot of guts. " 

Ethno films generated a mixed reception 
from white faculty and students. "Luis Ruiz 
did a real nice film that angered the whole 
faculty," Nakamura remembers. "It started 
out in English but after the two kids went into 
the house the rest of it was in Spanish." 

Because of their close working bonds the 
Ethno students often had little contact with 
either white students or affluent foreign-born 
Third World students. "I think the [American- 
born] Third World students in Ethno hung out 
together, and for the most part were not in- 
cluded in the overall film program, " explained 
Kubo. "During screenings at the end of the 
quarter I remember pitched battles between 
Third World and white students over content. 



impact of the film, the way it was shot — almost 
everything. There were even a few fist fights in 
the middle of screenings. " 

But according to Morales, "It was those 
times. Everyone took a hard line — people were 
intolerant. All of the films were always attack- 
ed." Morales encountered contradictions 
within Ethno itself. "I found sexism in my own 
group," she recalls. Years later, when she re- 
turned to UCLA as a graduate student, she 
produced Chicana, a widely distributed and 
unprecendented film about the history of Mex- 
ican American women. 

THE END OF ETHNO 

Despite the fire of its first years, by 1973 
Ethno began to fade. "It became a bad envi- 
ronment," according to Burnett. "No one in 
the University really wanted it. With Elyseo 
Taylor it was just like the Jesse Jackson thing in 
Syria: everyone hoped it would fail." The 
thread of disapproval remained throughout 
the program's lifetime, and it never received 
the concrete support necessary to make it last. 

Nakamura remembers that there was a lot of 
criticism, the beginning of the anti-affirmative 
action backlash which eventually hit many 
such programs. "There was a certain amount 
of resentment on the part of other elements in 
the film department because some academic 
waivers were permitted [to Ethno students] 
and the unversity-wide Graduate Advance- 
ment program provided financial aid to 
minorities." 

Unlike some other affirmative action pro- 
jects, UCLA offered Ethno-Communications 
no special resources, with the exception of the 
commitment of faculty time and additional 
equipment access. Nakamura remembers 
more significant support as coming from Third 
World study centers in Campbell Hall. "We'd 
be able to get work study or graduate research 
assistantships through the centers to pay for 
school. Otherwise UCLA didn't put any 
money out; the program was just a big 
recruiting effort." 

But Ethno-Communications was something 
more than that. It was a direct challenge to the 
status quo and traditions of the industry 's con- 
cept of film training. According to Kubo, 
"David Garcia and other advisors to Ethno 
were constantly under fire from the rest of the 
faculty to produce competent filmmakers, as 
opposed to political activists." 

Along with the lack of university support, 
internal problems and the increasingly 
conservative political climate were cited as 
contributing factors in Ethno's demise. John 
Rier {Black Images from the Screen, There 's a 
Mural I Know), a Black filmmaker who 
entered the film department on the last leg of 
the program, echoes the sentiment of Ethno 
alumni that the students, too, had changed. 
"We had people who came in as in- 
dividuals — students who came there to make it 
in Hollywood, unaware that there had been a 
struggle and a battle to even have Third World 
students [in the UCLA film program]." 

As the Ethno program dissipated, a Third 

17 



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Ethno's Chicano gratis, among them Jose Luis Ruiz (with camera), went on to form their own production company. 



World Film Students Organization was formed 
to lobby for maintaining Third World admis- 
sions and programs. A Chicano Cinema Coali- 
tion was also established, involving UCLA 
film students with Chicanos in the industry. 
But, according to Ruiz, that formation eventu- 
ally petered out because post-Ethno students 
"didn't have to struggle like Ethno-Communi- 
cations students did. So they didn't appreciate 
the struggle of Ethno-Communications." 



THE ENTHO IMPA CT 

Since Ethno, the presence of Third World 
students in the film department has never been 
as extensive. But whereas Ethno students 
emerged in a relative vacuum, aspiring film- 
makers since then enjoy the existence of a pro- 
lific, working Third World film community. 
Ethno alumni have been central to building 
that movement and forging that community. 

Ethno alumni pioneered a minority presence 
in independent filmmaking and public televi- 
sion programming. Both Chicano and Asian 
American Ethno graduates have been active in 
founding and organizing the Latino Consor- 
tium and the National Asian American Tele- 
communication Association. 

In 1975 Sandy Osawa wrote and produced 
television's first Native American series, con- 
sisting of ten 30-minute segments for KNBC- 
TV, Los Angeles. After leaving UCLA Luis 
Garza got a job at KABC-TV in Los Angeles as 
the producer of "Unidos," which became 
"Reflexiones," and hired a number of Ethno 
alumni. According to Ruiz, "the 'Reflexiones' 
group started television's magazine format. 
We didn't know video so we talked them into 
giving us film, so we'd go out into the 
[Chicano] community and do 30-minute 
pieces." Ruiz, Morales, Esparza and Fran- 
cisco Martinez are among the Chicano alumni 



18 



who have remained active in the production of 
documentaries about their communities. 

What happened to the Black Ethno stu- 
dents? Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima 
(Bush Mama, Harvest 3, 000 Years), who was a 
UCLA film student at the time, says, "Asian 
Americans were more organized. The Blacks 
tried to organize like that but were not as suc- 
cessful, although people like Larry Clark did 
have direct links to the Black community. The 
Blacks seemed more interested in going into 
the industry, and that's where a number of 
them that I knew are now." Unlike the Black 
Ethno students, most of the Asian Americans 
went on to become independents. 

Visual Communications, the oldest and 
most prolific of Asian American production 
entities, also has its roots in the Ethno pro- 
gram. Ten years after entering the program a 
number of Ethno alumni were key personnel 
on its landmark production Hito Hata: Raise 
the Banner, the first Asian American feature 
ever produced. Former Ethno students includ- 
ed executive producer Tatsukawa and co- 
directors Nakamura and Kubo. Working co- 
operatively in Visual Communications, they 
and other Ethno students had already pro- 
duced over a dozen films and tapes about 
Asian Americans. "Ethno-Communications 
is what Visual Communications had become, " 
explained Kubo. "It's what we thought we in 
the Asian American community could do with 
media." 

Thus the true measure of Ethno-Commun- 
ications' impact goes beyond the number of 
filmmakers it trained, the hours of program- 
ming produced or awards won. Ethno chal- 
lenged the basic premise of industry training, 
and many of its alumni have never lost that 
spirit. Whereas the media, in its racism and 
neglect, has traditionally been anathema to 
Third World people, here, for once, Third 
World people had the skills and a voice. ■ 

MARCH 1984 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



FESTIVALS 



Kicks at the Kijkhuis: 
Dutch World Wide Video 



REYNOLD WEIDENAAR 

The staid and stately Hague comes across as 
a Dutch version of Boston. As the administra- 
tive and diplomatic hub of Holland, The 
Hague exudes an appropriate air of sedate 
tranquility, leavened by a distinctly inter- 
national flavor stemming from the large pop- 
ulation of foreigners. Amidst the plethora of 
palaces and ministries, in the heart of the 
historic district, is the Kijkhuis. Literally 
translated as "view house" or "look house," it 
serves up a wide selection of beverages, sand- 
wiches, pastries and magazines, and each 
September hosts the World Wide Video 
Festival. 

In nearly all respects this six-day, noon-to-1 
AM extravaganza stands as a model to the rest 
of the world of how to run a video festival. 
Selection of materials is held well in advance. 
In 1983, the selection committee held an open 
call for submissions and also viewed collec- 
tions at European, American, Canadian and 
Japanese video centers. Selectees were notified 
about two-and-a-half months before the 
festival, and invited to attend. Travel expenses 
would not be covered, the organizers wrote, 
but "we can to some degree offer compensa- 
tion for expenses of accommodation." This 
turned out to be a fully-paid room and 
breakfast for the week at the nearby Hotel 
Sebel, which had been entirely block-booked 
by the festival. [On the other hand, several 
videomakers who were not selected complained 
about the lack of communication from the 
festival and the long time they had to wait for 
the return of their tapes. — Ed. ] 

No prizes were offered, but a screening fee 
of $50 was paid to each participant several 
weeks after the close of the festival. In ad- 
dition, each producer received a full-page 
listing in the 1 19-page catalog. The Dutch have 
de Stijl when it comes to graphics, and this 
carefully produced, attractive document is a 
good example. Each page bears a large black- 
and-white still and informed, sometimes prob- 
ing commentary and description in Dutch ana 
English. (The compilers used no publicity 
materials, but shot and wrote their own 
material.) There was just one freebie catalog 
for each participant; additional copies cost $3, 
but given the expense of publishing a catalog 
with trade-paperback quality, having to fork 
over a few guilders for an extra souvenir copy 
for Mom and Dad did not seem all that 
unreasonable. 

20 



The catalog was supplemented by a program 
listing the screening schedule for the entire 
week on one large sheet. The main body con- 
sisted of 124 tapes which were conveniently 
screened at four different times during the 
festival. Most of the tapes were shown at three 
different locations, each with comfortable 
theater seats: a 62-seat room with a gorgeous 
Sony VPH722QM 72" (diagonal) projector 
and stereo sound system, a 49-seat room with 
three monitors using internal speakers, and a 
55-seat room similarly equipped. This last was 
in a storefront known as "Studio 122," a few 
doors down the street. Its lack of soundproof- 
ing was not too annoying until the Noordeinde 




A deceased John Wayne stars in Debate of the Dead, 
shown at the World Wide Video Festival. 

Street Fair got rolling later in the week. After 
that, most of the Studio 122 tapes were accom- 
panied by the penetrating strains of "Muskrat 
Ramble" and other offerings of a thoroughly 
credible Dixieland band. 

Three additional Kijkhuis locations were 
devoted to special screenings: a small, six-seat, 
one-monitor room with daily screenings of 
works by Jean-Luc Godard; a 27-seat, one- 
monitor room with daily screenings of 10 
hours of videomagazines; and in the bar, two 
monitors displaying an anthology of the 
generally abstract works of pioneer Dutch 
video artist Livinius van de Bundt. 

These six locations were all fed by decks 
located in one room. The equipment could 
handle NTSC, PAL, and SECAM, so no 
transfers were necessary. Tapes were carefully 
cued, avoiding color bars and countdowns. 
The dependability of the printed schedule 
turned out to be surrealistically rock-steady, 



almost as if the staff had spent the previous 
week carefully rehearsing the entire presenta- 
tion in advance. 

The festival also offered a daily 10-hour pro- 
gram of 10 installations and performances at 
the nearby Galerie Artline. Another installa- 
tion was exhibited at the Gemeentemuseum 
(Municipal Museum) about 2 miles from the 
Kijkhuis. 

The variety of the selections was particularly 
striking, embracing nearly every conceivable 
genre and style of independent video: conven- 
tional and experimental narrative, documen- 
tary (generally political, sociological, 
historical or anthropological), comedy, satire, 
conceptual, punk, improvisational, image 
processing, music video, S&M, structuralist, 
abstract, public television, futurism and 
animation. Even a few renegade film transfers 
were in evidence. 

Public attendance was good; the screening 
rooms occasionally became jam-packed, 
especially in the evenings. The bar area was 
always crowded and bustling with a hubbub of 
conversations in Dutch, German, French and 
English, although with few Americans, Cana- 
dians and British in attendance, English was 
strictly a second language. 

There were no organized discussions or 
press conferences. Name tags assisted infor- 
mal contacts, as did a growing wall-mounted 
display of candid Polaroid head shots of at- 
tendees. Local press coverage was excellent 
and voluminous in promoting and reporting 
the festival, and each day more clippings ap- 
peared on the Kijkhuis wall. (Information on 
international critiques has not materialized to 
date.) Buyers were not much in evidence, ex- 
cept for the Kijkhuis itself which, in addition to 
being a year-round screening and exhibition 
facility, distributes some 450 titles. Some pro- 
ducers were invited to sign up for exclusive 
distribution in Holland and Belgium, with 
non-exclusive distribution throughout the rest 
of Europe. 

The staff was genial and considerate, if 
understandably harried at times. Guests were 
made to feel welcome, and staff members were 
particularly solicitous in making sure that the 
scheduling and locations of all offerings were 
clearly understood. 

The most underwhelming feature of the 
festival was sound reproduction. Except for 
one location, sound was heard from the inter- 
nal mono three-inch speaker of the video 
monitor. This serves well and may even be 
preferable for some works, but others clearly 
suffered. 

Perhaps the nicest aspects were the other- 
wise high technical quality and conscientious 
organization throughout. Another plus was 
the generous repeat programming which of- 
fered the opportunity to view works more than 
once, or to do a little sightseeing without miss- 
ing anything. This lent a very Hague-like air of 
tranquility to the proceedings. 

Entries must be 3 A " cassette, any standard.. 
Deadline: early-mid April. Contact: Tom Van 
Vliet, Kijkhuis, Worldwide Video Festival, 

MARCH 1984 



Noordeinde 140, 2514 GP Den Haag, 
Holland. ■ 

Video artist Reynold Weidenaar was recent- 
ly awarded the Grand Prix at the 6th Tokyo 
Video Festival. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's additional festivals have 
been compiled by Melody Pariser and Wendy 
Udell with the help of the FIVF files. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement, and 

since some details change faster than we do, 
we recommend that you contact the festival 
for further information before sending prints 
or tapes. If your experience with a given 
festival differs from our account, please let us 
know so that we can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

• ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS 
AND SCIENCES AND ACADEMY FOUNDA- 
TION STUDENT FILM A WARDS, June 10, recog- 
nizes outstanding achievements in student filmmak- 
ing of animation, documentary, dramatic & ex- 
perimental. Cash prizes plus winners flown to CA 
for awards presentation. Completed work in 16 or 
35mm (workprint OK). No entry fee. Deadline April 
1. Contact: Elaine Richard, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., 
Beverly Hills CA 90211; (213) 278-8990. 

• FILMEX, July 5-20, will be held three months 
later than usual this year in order to coincide with the 
1984 Summer Olympics. But the big news is the 
departure of long-time Filmex director Gary Essert 
& the arrival of former London Film Festival direc- 
tor Ken Wlaschin replacing him as creative director. 
Wlaschin was unavailable for comment at press 
time, and one can only speculate about the changes 
he will bring to this important American festival. On 
the surface, the programming philosophies of 
Filmex & London are not dissimilar, both rests opt- 
ing for broad eclectic programming of shorts, 
features & documentaries rather than the elitist 
selectivity practiced by some other events. Unfor- 
tunately, Essert's departure was prompted by an 



SYDNEY SELECTIONS 

Rod Webb of the Sydney Film festival 
will be in New York on March 12 at the 
FIVF office to select shorts, document- 
aries & feature films for the 1984 festival 
in Australia. (For details see Jan/Feb IN- 
DEPENDENT). Webb is seeking mainly 
narrative features & fiction shorts under 
30 min. 

Films or tapes must arrive by March 
12 & should be accompanied by publici- 
ty materials & the following fees: 
• 3 A " videocassette: $13 
•2 cassettes or 16mm up to 30 min.: $15 
•16mm film/31-60 min.: $17 
•16mm film/61-90 min.: $18 
• 16mm film over 90 min.: $20 
•35mm film: please inquire 

Films & tapes will be returned via UPS 
on March 15 unless otherwise instructed. 



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unhappy Board of Directors who accused him of 
financial mismanagement. No one on the outside 
really knows what went on, but it would be unfor- 
tunate if bad feelings were to affect participation, 
since Filmex has always been an important venue for 
independent films, a good place to see & be seen by 
colleagues in the industry. This year's deadline in 
April 1, & entries may be in 70, 35, 16, S-8 & 8mm. 
Contact: Ken Wlaschin, Director, Filmex, 6525 
Sunset Blvd., Hollywood CA 90028; (21 3)469-9400. 

• INDUSTRIAL FILM/VIDEO A WARDS COM- 
PETITION, October, recognizes & publicizes 
achievements of filmmakers from business, govern- 
ment, scientific & educational institutions. Films 
may be entered from any organization whose 
primary business is not film or video; producer & 
director must be co. employees. Work in 16mm & 
V* " U-MATIC can vie for an abundance of awards 
in these categories: advertising/sales; train- 
ing/education/employee relations; public rela- 
tions. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 30. Contact: 
Barbara Hagin or Lynn Roher, Industrial 
Photography, 475 Park Ave. So., New York, NY 
10016; (212) 725-2300. 

• HUMBOLDT FILM FESTIVAL, May 7-12, 
enables student & independent films to be judged by 
professionals. This student-run fest brings the most 
current indie & student productions from all over the 
world into the area, vying for $1,450 in prizes (in- 
cluding $250 for best surrealist film). All entered 
films are viewed by judges; critiques sent to the film- 
makers. 16mm only/max. 1 hr. Entry fee: $15 indie 
or student/$25 distribution co. Deadline: April 25. 
Contact: Mike Brown or John Heckel, Humboldt 
State University, Theater Arts Dept., Arcada CA 
95521; (707)826-4606. 

• NA TIONAL PS YCHOLOG Y AWARD FOR 
EXCELLENCE IN THE MEDIA, August 24, is 
presented at the convention of the American 
Psychological Association & sponsored jointly with 
the American Psychological Foundation. Films 
should increase public's understanding of 
psychology & evidence scientific research. Work not 
screened at convention, but winner does receive 
$1,000, trip to event and 3 days' expenses. Send 
16mm film or } A " or Vi " videotape. No fee. 
Deadline: April 15. Contact: Don Kent, APA, 1200 
17th St. N.W., Washington DC 20036; (202) 
955-7710. 

• NEW ENGLAND FILM FESTIVAL, May, 
enables independent & student filmmakers residing 
in New England— ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI— a 
forum in which to exhibit & gain recognition for ex- 
cellence in film. Fest offers cash, film materials & 
service prizes valued at $1,000. Winning work 
shown at Boston Film & Video Foundation & in CT 
in May. Animated, documentary, experimental & 
narrative work in S-8 & 16mm should be sent by 
March 13. Entry fee: indies— $20/students— $10. 
Contact: Pam Korza, AES, Division of Continuing 
Education, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst MA 
01003; (413) 545-2360. 

• NISSAN FOCUS AWARDS, June 18, en- 
courages excellence in college-level film training & 
study, offers financial assistance & professional 
visibility to students, & nurtures fresh talent for the 
film industry. Categories include narrative/live ac- 
tion, documentary, animation/experimental, 
screenwriting, sound achievement & editing. Prizes 
include cars, cash awards & a trip to Los Angeles for 
the award ceremony. $15 entry fee. 16mm only. 
Ceremony presents students to distributors & studio 



people. Deadline: April 20. Contact: Sam Katz, 
1140 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036; 
(212)575-0270. 

• PALO ALTO FILM FESTIVAL, May 11-12, 
showcasing northern California independent film- 
makers only, will be awarding $1 ,500 to work in 8 & 
16mm. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: March 24. Con- 
tact: Brian George, Palo Alto Filmmakers' Guild, 
Palo Alto Cultural Center, 1313 Newell Rd., Palo 
Alto, CA 94303; (415) 329-2122. 

• ROCHESTER FINGER LAKES EXHIBITION, 
Apr 29-June3, restricted to Rochester & 19 
surrounding counties, displays work of upstate NY 
artists. Film contest invites work in S-8, 8, 16mm, or 
Vi " & % " videotape; 30 min. max. Prizes total 
$3,500. Bring work to receiving warehouse Mar. 
29-31. Entry fee: $15. Contact: Marie Via, 
Memorial Art Gallery, Univ. of Rochester, 490 
University Ave., Rochester NY 14607; (716) 
275-3081. ■ 



Foreign 

• AUCKLAND INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 
takes place just after Melbourne & Sydney festivals 
in Australia, making a stop in New Zealand the 
natural complement to any filmmaker's tour "down 
under . " New Zealand 's TV networks are reportedly 
big film buyers, although the audience is naturally 
small. No awards/no fee. Deadline: April. Contact: 
Max Archer, Auckland Festival Society, PO Box 
1411, Auckland 1, NEW ZEALAND; tel: 33-629 

• A SOLO INT'L FESTIVAL OF FILMS ONAR T 
& BIOGRAPHIES OF ARTISTS, May-June, 
presents a critical survey of films on art & artists. 
Send features & shorts in 1 6 or 35mm . Awards given . 
No fee. Deadline: April. Contact: Flavia Paulon, 
Calle Avogaria 1633, 30123 Venice, ITALY. 

• CINE FOTO CLUB— TRECATE, April, awards 
gold medals, public prizes & gives recognition to 
films of special merit. Fee: $6. Deadline: April 1. 
Contact: Cine Foto Club— Trecate, C. SO Roma 48, 
28069 Trecate, ITALY; tel: (0321) 73242. 

• CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, July 13-Aug. 
1 , a small festival targeting public rather than pro- 
fessional audience, is run as part of the older Cam- 
bridge Festival of the Arts. Last year's programs in- 
cluded independent films from Australia & the US: 
Lianna (John Sayles) & Koyannisqatsi (Godfrey 
Reggio) were shown, as well as British & foreign 
retrospectives. Fest's main reputation, however, is 
for promoting new British films. Contact: G.G. 
Datsun, Sec'y, Cambridge Festival Association, 
The Guild Hall, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 



SPECIAL THANKS 

FIVF gratefully thanks 

tha following Individuals 

for contributions to the 

organization . 

Use Rubenstein, 

Hillsborough CA 

Arnie Malina, Helena MT 

Don Starnes, 

San Francisco CA 

Sharyn L. Ross, NY NY 

Abigail Norman, NY NY 

Peggy Stern, NY NY 

Alexandra Tana, Cambridge MA 



22 



THE INDEPENDENT 





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San Francisco's performance artists star in William 
Farley's 1982 film Citizen, which was shown at Filmex. 

ENGLAND CB2 3QJ; tel: (223) 35 89 77. 

• CRACOW INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 
May 29-June 3, through its motto "Our Twentieth 
Century" presents review of short films, particular- 
ly those which reveal changes, trends & 
achievements of the 20th century. This may be a 
charming description, but due to the current 
political situation in Poland, Charles Samu of HBO 
claims, "Western films won't get very good treat- 
ment." He warned against American filmmakers 
entering Cracow simply because their work won't 
get showcased. Apparently the festival is now run by 
the military, & although there are no uniforms in 
sight, it's no secret that all of the film people were 
replaced with laypersons unfamiliar with film but 
part of the new order in Poland. The fest's focus is 
on kussian, Polish and other East European films. 
Many Polish filmmakers have been boycotting the 
fest. Samu said an American & Australian that went 
to Cracow last year reported a "downbeat at- 
mosphere." Documentary, animated, fiction & ex- 
perimental works under 30 min. are accepted in 16, 
35 or 70mm . Golden & Silver Dragons awarded with 
cash prizes, but money is not convertible & must be 
spent in Poland. Deadline: April. Contact: Piotr 
Sokilowski, Director, Plac Ayciewstwa, PO Box 
127, 00-950 Warsaw, POLAND; tel: 26-40-51. 

• FLORENCE FILM FESTIVAL, May 25-29, 
widens its participation this year to include not only 
American independent features, but international 
films as well . All films will be subtitled in Italian with 
"Softitler, " the new electronic subtitling system that 
displays titles below the screen and leaves print un- 
damaged. Extensive outreach is made to Italian 
press & a selection of films from Florence will prob- 
ably be brought to Rome for the Massencio Arts 
Festival (as was successfully done in 1983). 
Preference given to Italian premieres; selected film- 
makers flown to the festival. Contact: Marco 
Mazzei, Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Ave., 
NY NY 10021; (212) 420-9448 or Fabrizio Fiumi, 
Director, Via Martiri del Popolo 27, 501 22 Florence, 
ITALY; tel: (050)245-869/243-651. 

• GOLDEN HARP TELEVISION FESTIVAL, 
May, stimulates wider interest in traditional cultures 
through programs which reveal aspects of a par- 
ticular cultural heritage as exemplified in its 
folklore, folk music & other traditional elements. 
Participation is restricted to broadcasting organiza- 
tions that are members of the Int'l Telecommunica,- 
tions Union. A scan of their catalog indicated 
Americans have yet to receive so much as an 
honorable mention in 8 vears. Send 16 & 25mm film 
or 1 "& 2 "videotape, max. 35. min. Deadline: April. 
No fee. Contact: Aindreas O'Gallchoir, Radio 
Telefis Eireann, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, 
IRELAND. 



• KARLOVY VAR Y INT'L FILM FESTIVAL Ju- 
ly 6-18, held alternatively with the Moscow Int'l 
Film Festival since 1946, is supported by the 
Czechoslovakian gov't; its motto is "for noble rela- 
tions among people, for lasting friendship among 
nations." Along with Moscow, this is one of the 
largest & most prestigious festivals in Eastern Eu- 
rope. Two competitive sections: one for films from 
each invited country and another for first works. 
There is also an information section (non- 
competitive screenings) & a section called "Con- 
tradictions of Today's World in Cinematography," 
which projects films of various genres dealing with 
topical int'l social problems. Roundtable discus- 
sions include filmmakers, theoreticians, journalists 
& producers. A variety of awards are presented. 
AIVF member Richard Pearce's Canadian-pro- 
duced film Threshold won the Unitace Prize in 1982. 
Entries accepted in 35mm only; no fee. For more in- 
formation, contact: The International Film Ex- 
change, 210 W. 52 St., 2nd fl., NY NY 10019. (212) 
582-43 18. The Exchange usually provides a US ship- 
ment of films and is the American contact for the 
Festival. To contact fest directly: Dr. Vanicek, 
Karlovy Vary Int'l Film Festival, Czechoslovak 
Film, Jinrisska St. #34, Prague 1 
CZECHOSLOVAKIA; tel: 223751. 

• MELILLA, SEMANA DE CINE INTERN A- 
CIONAL, May, invites 35mm films in the following 
categories to a competitive festival in this Spanish 
colony in Morocco: supernatural phenomena, 
Spanish cinema, foreign cinema, children's films & 
shorts. Enter by April 1. Contact: IX Semana de 
Cine Int'l., Carlos de Arellano, No. °10, Apartado 
de Correos 291, Melilla, SPAIN; tel: 952-68-48-42 
/952-68-11-40. 

• MEMOIRES OUVRIERES ("Workers' Remem- 
brances"), May 24-29, invites American entries into 
competition of feature films in Nevers, France. In- 
terested in "the subterranean world of the most dif- 
ficult daily life, that of work in manufacturing, in 
the workshops, in the factories, in the search of our 
memories." Six narrative & six documentary 
features compete for prizes amounting to 10,000 
francs, preferably awarded to the film's distributors 
or to exhibitors, primarily non-profit, who use the 
film. Also a prize of 5,000 francs awarded by the 
press. First festival, held in 1983, featured retrospec- 
tives of German proletarian films from the period 
1920-1933, and such titles as The Working Class 
Goes to Heaven, They Don 't Wear Black Tie, Days 
of Heaven, The Crime of Monsieur Lange and 
Moonlighting. Competition included films from 
Algeria, Upper Volta, Brazil & Finland. Entries due 
by Mar. 31 & should include a synopsis, film credits, 
director's biography & picture, dialogue list & 
translation. Fest also wants authorization to subtitle 
films, show excerpts on TV & present in a touring 
package. Contact: Robert Grelier, 18 rue Gaston 
Monmousseau, Batiment C, 94200 Ivry, FRANCE; 
tel: 671-65-03. 

• SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL. Takes place in 
June. Deadline: April. Contact: Rod Webb, Direc- 
tor, Sydney Film Festival, Box 4934 GPO, Sydney 
NSW 20001, AUSTRALIA. For more info, see 
Jan/Feb 1984 Independent, p. 30. 

• VELDEN AM A TEUR FILM FESTIVAL OF 
NATIONS, June, awards amateur documentary, 
travel, games, fantasy & experimental work in S-8, 8 
& 16mm under 25 min. Winners may be screened on 
Austrian TV. No fee. Deadline: April. Contact: 
Filmclub Klagenfurt-Kurrerwaltung Velden, W. 
Hufsky & F. David— Directors, A-9220 Velden Am 
Woerthersee, Kurverwaltung, AUSTRIA; tel: 
(0-42-74)2103. ■ 



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NOTICES are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others included as space permits. 
Send notices to THE INDEPENDENT for 
do FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New 



York, NY 10012. For further info, call 
(212) 473-3400. Deadline: 8th of se- 
cond preceding month (eg. March 8th 
May). Edited by Mary Guzzy 



Buy • Ren f Sell 

• FOR SALE: CP16-A w/12-120 Angenieux lens, 
single system sound head, 2 magazines, Maier Han- 
cock hot splicer, footage counter. $1,500.- Contact: 
Oren, (212) 222-9008, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Canon 12-120mm macro lens. Arri 
mount; seldom used, like new. Make offer. Call: 
(512) 478-2971, TX. 

mFOR SALE: Nagra III sync recorder loaded for 
documentaries, w/case; very good condition. 
$1 ,800. Stellavox SP-7 recorder, stereo & mono sync 
modular heads, 10'/2 " reels, crystal sync, Phantom 
Powers condenser mic, cardioid & shotgun w/boom 
mount. $500. Excellent. All items w/power supply. 
Call: (212)427-3842/874-2972, NY. 

• FOR RENT: New Sony M-3 camera, 3-tube; 4800 
deck; batteries, monitor; tripod; mics; cables & 
Lowell lighting. Very portable. $250/day equip- 
ment & camera person. Contact: Alan, (212) 
222-3321 or Caryn, (212) 222-6748, NY, 

• FOR SALE: Panasonic 3990 camera w/batteries, 
recharger, 10-14 pin cable converter, hard & soft 
cases. $1,500 or best offer. Call: Alan, (212) 
222-3321 or Caryn, (212) 222-6748, NY. 

• FOR SALE: JVC CP5500U V* " color video 
cassette player, JVC CR-8200U 3 4 " electronic 
editing recorder with JVC RM-88U automatic 
editing control unit; excellent condition w/new 
heads. $5,000 entire system. Contact: Media Ser- 
vices Agency, Port Washington Public Library, 245 
Main St., Port Washington NY 11050, (516) 
883-4400 ext. 140. 

• FOR SALE: Angenieux 12-120mm lens. Arri 
mount. Must sell quickly; will accept any low but 
reasonable offer. Perfect condition. Call: (512) 
478-2971, TX. 

• FOR SALE: Sony 366 reel-to-reel 7" tape deck 
quartertrack stereo, 3 heads, new belts, rollers, 
playback head, editfeature, Nagra compatible. Best 
offer. Call (212) 548-2875, eve. 6-10 pm, NY., 

• FOR SALE: TAPCO 6201 B mixer; 6 in/2 out 
w/phantom power. $350. Electrovoice CS 15P con- 
denser mic w/interchangeable capsules. $175. 2 
MXR noise gates. $25/ea. Contact: Phil Cibley, 
(212)986-2219, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Tektronix 529 waveform monitor, 
$800. 1480 waveform monitor, $1,300. JVC 
CR8500 edit system W/RM85U controller, $7,500. 
Conrac 19" RH-A control room monitor, $400. 
Frezzi 6-AH battery belts, $100. Sylvania Sun-Gun, 
$40. Audio Ltd. RM-7 radio mics, $550. Call: SoHo 
Video, (212) 473-6947, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Ikegami HL-79-A, BVU-1 10, lights, 
mics, insurance. $450/day. Radio mics, car, sun- 
guns, crew additional as r-equired. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212) 473-6947, NY. 



24 



• FOR SALE: Lowell Solo-Kit; 4 omnis, 2 totas 
plus all attachments. $1,100. Canon DS8 Scoopic. 
$350. Sennheiser ME 20, 40 & 80 mics w/screens. 
$350. Universal tripod w/fluid head. $325. Call: 
Steve, (415)359-3742, CA. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck; old but good, 
rebuilt w /additional amplifier & speaker: $6,000 or 
best offer. Call: (212) 765-8860, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 camera, Wollensak 
25mm-1.9 lens, Solgar 17mm wide-angle 2.7 lens, 
Kodak Anastigmatice 2.7-102mm lens, $300. Pan 
Cinor Berthot VarioSwitare 17-85mm zoom 
w/viewfinder, $700. Bolex 16m, Matte Box, $125. 
Bolex 16mm motor w/battery box at different 
speeds for hand crank, $60. A S-8 synchronizer, 
$125. Hahnel S-8 splicer, $35. Call: (212) 
677-2181/924-2254, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm upright Moviola. Excellent 
condition: takes single-spliced film. 1 picture head, 
2 sound heads . Save on flatbed rentals; it will pay for 
itself. Call: (212 666-6787, leave message, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Complete broadcast-quality pro- 
duction pkg. Includes Ikegami HL-83, 3 A" JVC 
4700U, color Videotek monitor, wave-form, mics, 
lights & tripod . Production personnel also available. 
Competitive rates . Contact : Everglade Prods .,(212) 
925-1247, NY. 

• PROFESSIONAL VIDEO REPAIR, MAIN- 
TENANCE of broadcast & industrial cameras, 
decks, monitors, calibration of wave-forms etc. We 
buy & sell used equipment. Contact: SoHo Video, 
(212)473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Sony VO-2860 editing VCR, $2,500; 
Arriflex BL pkg. w/400 ' mags, Zeiss 10-100 crystal 
lock, battery belt, shipping cases, $5,500; Nagra E 
non-sync !4 " fulltrack recorder, mint condition, 
$1,200; Uher 4000 Report L l A " mono recorder 
w/case & power supply, $150; Miller wooden legs, 
$100; Sony AV-3400 EI A portapak w/AC adaptor 
& case, $200; Sony AV-8650 EIAJ editing VCR, 
$300; Sony VO-3800, AC-3800 & K&H padded case 
(needs work), $400; Elmo/Honeywell Double S-8 
camera w/power supply, modified for double 
system sound, $100. Contact: YF/VA, (212) 
673-9361, NY. 

• FOR SALE, RENT OR EXHIBITION: Largest 
collection of Chicago Dance on color Vt "videotape. 
3-camera production w/terrific switching effects. 
Also, 42 min. 16mm color sync -sound film made en- 
tirely by teenagers. Winner of 1982 NEA Morrie 
Turner Award & subject of 90-min. WBBM-TV 
(Chicago CBS affiliate) June 1982 special. Contact: 
Shoulder High Eye, PO Box 5985, Chicago IL 
60680,(312)421-5536. 

• FOR SALE: Arri 16-S w/sync generator, 12-120 
zone, 400' mag., battery, tripod, changing bag, 2 
motors, cases, many extras. $8,500 value, asking 
$3,200. Contact: Jim Hubbard, (212) 925-4514, NY. 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



(Please note that phone number for this notice was 
printed incorrectly in Jan. /Feb. issue.) 



Conferences • Workshops 

• COLLECTIVE FOR LIVING CINEMA offers 
Editing Techniques, Sat. & Sun., March 3-4, 10 
am-6 pm. Cutting, sync-sound, A&B rolling, 
preparation for mix. Work on flatbed. $85. Alan 
Berliner, instructor. 10% tuition discount for CLC 
members. Limited enrollment. Contacts CLC, 52 
White St., NY NY 10013, (212) 925-3926, 

• PRODUCTION EAST: New trade event for East 
Coast entertainment production industries at New 
York Hilton, May 21-23, 1984. Conference section 
includes over 70 seminar sessions covering issues 
vital to economic survival of companies in televi- 
sion, cable, feature film & advertising communities. 
Exhibition areas in Production Services, Hardware 
& Specialized Production Companies. Contact: Vic- 
tor Harwood, (212) 475-3356, NY. 

• NORTH AMERICAN TELEVISION INSTI- 
TUTE full-day & half-day seminars designed to 
strengthen video professional's skills in editing, di- 
recting, scripting, lighting, sound audio field/post- 
production, computer animation, technical 
troubleshooting, management & video production 
techniques. March 13-16, Washington DC; April 
10-13, Seattle WA. Contact: Ellen Parker, 
Knowledge Industry Publications, Inc., 701 
Westchester Ave., White Plains NY 10604, (800) 
431-1880/(914) 328-9157, NY. 

• ISRA TECH: Israel Technology Week at Tel Aviv 
International Trade Fair Center, May 21-24, 1984. 
Over 200 Israeli manufacturers launch state-of-the- 
art technology in such categories as communications 
systems & products, & electronics. Running concur- 
rently is Fourth International Jerusalem Conference 
on Information Technology covering bjoad range of 
topics on computer technology & applications, eco- 
nomics & management of information industry. 
Contact: Peter Muhlrad, Israel Trade Center, 350 
Fifth Ave., NY NY 101 18, (212) 560-0666. 

• SPRING WORKSHOPS AT YOUNG 
FILMAKERS/VIDEO ARTS: Professional in- 
struction in film/video production & theory de- 
signed for both novices & professionals. Course 
lengths range from weekend workshops to 12-week 
programs including Documerttary, Location & TV 
Studio Production, Directing for Camera, Lighting, 
Audio, Film & Video Editing, Screenwriting & 
Videodance. Equipment rentals & postproduction 
facilities available for independent producers, ar- 
tists & nonprofit groups at low cost. Free brochure 
available. Contact: YF/VA, (212) 673-9361, 
weekdays 10 am-6 pm, NY. 



Editing Facilities 



• >/* " COMPUTERIZED EDITING FACILITY 
FOR RENT: Available on month-to-month basis. 
Unlimited hours; low monthly rate. Perfect for film- 
style video rough cuts. Call: (212) 689-751 1, NY. 

• FULLY EQUIPPED 16mm editing room for 
rent. 6-plate Moviola table. 24 hr. access in Film 
Center Building. $600/mo. Contact: Joe/Steve, 
(212)875-9722/582-9692, NY. 

• SUNNY, ATTRACTIVE, FURNISHED OR 
UNFURNISHED OFFICES w/private entrances 
near West Village. 1 & 2 room suites. 

MARCH 1984 



Conference/screening room & office equipment 
available to share. Very high floor, panoramic 
views, small terraces, air-conditioning, excellent 
security. 24-hr. building. $550/mo. single, 
$850/mo. double. Short or long term sublet. Con- 
tact: David Greaves, (212) 206-1213, NY. 

• EDITING ROOM: Fully equipped w/6-plate 
Moviola flatbed, bins, synchronizer, viewer & 
splicer. Near West Village. High floor, panoramic 
view, small terrace. Conference/screening room 
available to share. Also, office & office equipment 
for sublet. 24-hr. building; excellent security. Con- 
tact: David Greaves, (212) 206-1213, NY. 

• C&C VISUAL LTD. announces Suite 27, on & 
off-line video editing facility. Includes Sony 
Betacam, BVU 800, BVH 2000, Sony edit con- 
troller, character generator, CMX-compatible pro- 
duction switcher, punch tape & hard-copy for time 
code. Projects can be completed on l " & V* 
masters. 24 hr., 7 day/wk. access. Contact 
Christopher Cohen/Ian Greenstein, Suite 27, 12 
West 27 St., NY NY 10001, (212) 684-3837. 

• TWO COMPLETE EDITING ROOMS in Chelsea: 
(a) 2h-hr. access: Moviola flatbed w/torque motor 
box; complete 16mm edit equipment; complete kit- 
chen & bathroom; minimal office facilities; 
telephone; air conditioning . (b) 10am-6pm access: 
Steenbeck; complete 16mm edit equipment; ltd. kit- 
chen, bath facilities; specialized edit equipment 
available at extra cost. Contact: David Loucka, 
Lance Bird, (212) 584-7530, NY. 

• EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION FACILI- 
TIES AVAILABLE: Short-term rentals only. 
9am-5pm business days. KEM 8-plate 16/35mm, 
3 A "editing, sound transfer, narration recording, ex- 
tensive sound effects library, interlock screening. 
Contact: Cinetudes Film Productions, 295 West 4 
St., NY NY 10014; (212) 966-4600. 

• BRODSK Y & TREAD WA Y S-8 & 8MM FILM 
TO VIDEO TRANSFER MASTERS: Scene-by- 
scene density & total color correction, variable speed 
& freeze frame, sound from any source. Artists & 
broadcasters like our work. By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372, MA. 

• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: Moderately priced 
by the month. Delivered to your workspace. Prompt 
repairs included. Call: Paul, (212) 316-2913, NY. 

• LARGE, COMFORTABLE EDITING ROOM 

w/KEM 8-plate Universal editing table, 16mm & 
35mm, rewinds, bins, splicers, synchronizers, etc., 
private phone, additional office space available. 
Midtown location. Call: Errol Morris Films, 1697 
Broadway, NY NY 10019, (212) 757-7478/582- 
4045. 

• SONY TYPE V EDITING EQUIPMENT: Ex- 
cellent hourly rate if you use average 10 or more hrs. 
editing time per month. Contact : Michael Schwartz, 
(212) 925-7771/966-6009, NY. 

• REGULAR & S-8 FILM-TO-VIDEO TRANS- 
FER: Professional quality, industrial or broadcast; 
much better than you've seen before. Supervised or 
unsupervised; reasonable rates. Contact: Landy, 
400 East 83 St. #4A, NY NY 10028; (212) 734-1402. 

• SONY BVU V*" EDITING: $25/hr. w/editor. 
Contact: Kathy Abbott/Karen Ranucci, (212) 
242-2320, NY. 

• EDITOR OF ACADEMY AWARD-nominaled 
documentary now cuts V* " video off-line. JVC 



decks w/FM dub, Cezar IVC microprocessor con- 
troller, special effects keyer & colorizer, fade to 
black, waveform & pulse cross monitor, b&w 
graphics camera w/animation stand & titling 
system, mics, turntable, audio cassette, VHS time 
code burn in. $25/hr. for projects under $3,500. 
Contact: Bruce Ettinger, (212) 226-8489, NY. 

• 29TH STREET VIDEO "where the best edits cost 
less" offers V* " video editing & production svcs. 
Sony 5850 decks, RM440 editor, Microgen 
character generator, fade-to-black, audio mixer, 
mics, audiocassette tape recorders & more. Produc- 
tion svcs. include JVC KY-2000 camera, Sony 4800 
deck, tripod, production mics, lights, more. Con- 
tact: Tami/David, (212) 594-7530, NY. 

• POST-PRODUCTION SER VICE: 3 A " U-Matic 
recorder w/RM-430; VHS to Betamax/user or 
technician operated. Viewing & cataloguing: 3 A ", 
Beta II or III, Vi "VHS or open reel. Contact: Asian 
Cinevision, (212)925-8685, NY. 

• VIDEO EDITING & TIME CODING: 3 A " hi- 
speed video editing on new JVC 8250 
w/convergence control. $20/$30 per hour. Low 
rates for time coding & time code editing. Call: In- 
point Production, (212) 966-0804, NY. 

• FOR BARTER: Use of complete 16mm editing 
room w/flatbed in exchange for use of Nagra 
w/crystal; for transfer only. Contact: Jill God- 
milow, (212)226-2462, NY. 

• 8-PLATE KEM UNIVERSAL for rent w/fully 
equipped room. $250/wk., $750/mo. Convenient 
midtown location. Call: (212) 222-5280, NY. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• NEW IMAGES, cable TV series scheduled to 
premiere May 1984 will showcase short works by 
cable, video & film producers in variety of cate- 
gories. Project of Boston-based Cultural Education 
Collaborative's Video Interconnect funded by 
Massachusetts Council on Arts & Humanities. 
Selections made by panel of programmers, artists & 
producers. Works chosen for cablecast will receive 
maximum $20/production minute. Projects may 
originate in 3 A ", 'A " or film. Submissions must be 
V* "video. 15 min. maximum length. Include return 
postage. Deadlines: Video Art, Music March 5, 
1984; Dance & Documentaries March 19, 1984; 
Animation, Drama April 9, 1984. Contact: Video 
Interconnect, CEC, 59 Temple PL, Boston MA 
02111,(617)338-3073. 

• ART COM TELEVISION, cable program sched- 
uled for launch in Fall '84 will deliver to cable 
viewers in 8 major markets best in TV art & creative 
investigation of new technologies. Seeking artist- 
produced programs, experimental, music video, 
reports on robotics, interactive media, special ef- 
fects, production hardware & facilities. Submit V* " 
U-matic tapes for programming consideration. In- 
clude return postage. Contact: Carl Loeffler, Ex- 
ecutive Director, ArtCom TV, POB-3123 Rincon 
Annex, San Francisco CA 941 19, (415)431-7524. 

• JACKPOT PRODUCTIONS, releasing agents 
for independently produced film/video, seeks new 
properties for catalog. General appeal & commer- 
cial salability required. Will cut previews, design & 
print advertising, make copies for distribution. 
Broadcast quality 16mm,. V* "or Vi "only. Contact: 
Janice Governale, Director of Distribution/Ac- 

(continued on page 28) 
26 



THE INDEPENDENT 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



MARY GUZZY 

We thought we'd start off this month's col- 
umn with what has become affectionately 
known as a Horrible Statistic concerning the 
current outlook for artists and the arts: Accor- 
ding to the American Arts Alliance, the 
Washington arts advocacy group, the entire 
budget of the National Endowment for the 
Arts in FY 1 984 would buy exactly one inch of a 
Trident submarine. (That's $162 million per 
inch.) Film, video and radio artists share the 
$8.8 million Media portion of the total NEA 
pie (about 6%). Our estimation is that this 
would pay for the paint you could scrape off 
the hull with your fingernail. P.S.: The FY 
1984 NEA budget was increased by about $8 
million over FY 1983. And now the news: 




Animators comprise a sector of the indepen- 
dent community that is hard-pressed even in 
the best of times, so it was good news when the 
Donnell Media Center of the NY Public 
Library decided to acquire Judi Fogelman's 
most recent animation, Leaf Dance. Created 
in 16mm color with ink and paint, the film por- 
trays colored leaves blowing in an autumn 
wind accompanied by a background score of 
traditional Peruvian flute music. 800 separate 
visual pieces make up Leaf Dance and the two- 
and-a-half minute film's estimated budget was 
$5,000, not including labor. Fogelman has 
been making films for about five years. She's 
optimistic about the day when she'll have been 
around the scene long enough to be recognized 
by larger funding entities, but for now she 
raises money for her projects through free- 
lance survival jobs and bartering her artistic 
and clerical skills for in-kind contributions of 
materials from the advertising and public rela- 
tions firms with which she works. She views 
getting films made and surviving as two parts 
of one design, "a matter of problem solving. " 
Fogelman is currently working on another 
short animated film entitled Waho, dedicated 
to an artist friend, George Namoki, who died 
in 1982. (212)840-1234, NY. 



The prolific Mike Manetta {Through the 
Past to the Future: A Journey Down the Nile, 
In/Out July /Aug, 1983; Trail of the Sphinx, 
In/Out Oct. 1983) has completed a 16mm 
slide-animated short called Parade '83, "an 
anthem for the gay /lesbian movement as viewed 
from the perspective of its June Solidarity 
Parade." Parade '83 was screened at the 1983 
NY Gay Film Festival. Manetta's short pro- 
jects are self -financed (he's also the producer 
of the 1980 feature musical comedy Love 
Thing), and he doesn't rely on expensive 
special effects generators to create his slide 
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Coming out: Anti-gays in Mike Manetta's Parade '83. 
animations. "But," he says, "sometimes art- 
ists working under resistance make better art. " 
His next project will be a slide-animated film 
with synthesizer soundtrack commemorating 
the gigantic Brooklyn Terminal Art Show. 
Eventually, Manetta plans to move into pro- 
ducing music video now that the format ("still 
in its infancy") is moving towards lengthier, 
story-oriented pieces woven around the 
musical 'performances — a format through 
which, Manetta thinks, TV audiences may re- 
discover the dramatic musical form. (212) 
786-5001, NY. 

Not to be outdone by narrative and art film- 
makers, producer Oren Rudavsky has com- 
pleted two documentary projects. Ghosts of 
Hiroshima is a video documentation of the 
Lantern Theatre production which incor- 
porates testimony of the survivors of the 1945 
atomic bombings with archival photographs. 
Rudavsky and Henry Cline produced the 
28-minute color tape; script research by 
Debra Lubar and Diana Roose. Ghosts of 
Hiroshima is available through the Film- 
maker's Library, 133 East 58 St. #703A, NY 
NY 100012, (212)355-6545. 

Gloria, Rudavsky's 30-minute doc about 
police brutality and race relations, focuses on 
the survivor of a police shooting in Lorain, 
Ohio. Gloria follows the three-year battle be- 
tween the NAACP and other community 
groups, the mayor, city council and police to 
resolve the issues surrounding the case. While 
Ghosts of Hiroshima received funding from 
the Ohio Humanities Council, Gloria was sup- 
ported by the Ohio Arts Council. (212) 
222-9008, NY/(216) 323-7120, OH. 

Producers Ben Achtenberg and Joan Saw- 
yer of the Boston-based Fanlight Productions 
have collaborated with registered nurse 
Christine Mitchell to produce Code Gray: 
Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing, a 27-minute, 
16mm doc depicting four situations in which 
nurses must make serious ethical decisions af- 
fecting the well-being of their patients. Filming 
for Code Gray took place in California and 
Massachusetts and was supported by grants 
from the Massachusetts Foundation for Hu- 
manities and Public Policy, the California 



Council on the Humanities and others. Other 
documentaries distributed by Fanlight, which 
recently merged with Plainsong Productions 
to form a production, consulting and distribu- 
tion concern are chiefly about issues of health 
and human development. Two its films — / 
Don 't Have to Hide: A Film About Anorexia 
& Bulimia by Anne Fischel, and Trying Times: 
Crisis in Fertility by Joan Sawyer — have 
garnered American Film Festival red ribbons. 
(617)524-0980, MA. 

Larry Hott and Roger Sherman of Floren- 
tine Films have produced a half-hour 
documentary about the economic and scien- 
tific resource value of rare and endangered 
species and the rationale for preserving species 
in their natural habitats. Entitled The Garden 
of Eden, the project was created for the Nature 
Conservancy, a private Virginia land conserva- 
tion organization which commissioned Flor- 
entine Films for the project after reviewing ap- 
plications from several film companies. Pro- 
duction was sponsored by the the Continental 




Snake and Aaton, stars of The Garden of Eden. 

Group, which provided $168,000. "That job 
helped us to eat for the past two years," Hott 
observed. 

Florentine's own project, Niagra (In/Out, 
July /Aug. 1 983) has been minimally funded by 
the New York State Council on the Humani- 
ties; they are continuing to fundraise for com- 
pletion monies while they forge ahead with 
production. "We're about one-third through 
with production," says Hott, "and intend to 
begin editing in late spring or early summer. " 

The Nature Conservancy, by the way, will 
loan The Garden of Eden at no charge to 
interested groups and individuals. Contact: 
TNC, 1800 Kent St., Arlington VA 22209, 
(703)841-5342. 

Home Box Office has leased producer/ 
director Paul Kirshbaum's short film, Final 
Moments. The four-minute, 16mm color 
character study portrays the end of a love rela- 
tionship and the bittersweet memories of its 
happier moments seen in flashback. James 
Hayman and Michael Hunold were camera 
and assistant on the piece. Jeffrey Brown and 
Gwen Bucci portray the couple. The film is dis- 
tributed by ICAP, 625 Broadway, NY NY 
10012, (212) 533-9180. Kirshbaum, an alum- 
nus of the NYU undergraduate film school, is 
currently working on several projects in- 

MARCH 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



eluding a grant proposal for a video piece, a 
treatment for a feature film script and an ap- 
plication to the Center for Advanced Film 
Studies at the American Film Institute. He pro- 
duced Final Moments for about $3,000. "Rais- 
ing money is the continuous frustration," he 
says. "It slows down the rate at which you can 
create your art." But a strong motivation 
keeps him going: "It's such a high to direct. It's 
what I like to do." 

AIVF's Festival Bureau director, Wendy 
Lidell, saw her own film Tactics screened at the 
Rotterdam International Film Festival in 
January. The 13-minute, 16mm color narra- 
tive depicts the rocky meeting between two 
women whose radical political activities in 
their college days brought them into a close 
friendship despite a difference in class 
backgrounds . Years later, they find that the life 
choices they have made since that time have 
opened a wide gulf between them: one has 
become a lawyer and all but repudiated her 
past while the other still carries the activist 
torch. (212) 473-3400, NY. 

FEATURE FRONT 

Chris Choy, Alan Siegel and Worth Long 
have begun an extensive national tour with 
their film Mississippi Triangle, a documentary 
about the complex interaction among Blacks, 
Chinese and whites in the Mississippi Delta re- 
gion. Released by Third World Newsreel and 
Film News Now Foundation, Mississippi Tri- 
angle received major support from the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Humanities with ad- 
ditional funding from the John Simon 
Guggenheim Foundation and the National 
Endowment for the Arts. The film depicts the 
current Delta scene as well as surveying the rich 
history of its delicate racial and cultural 
balance from survival and conflict to civil 
rights and economic change. All this on a 
budget of $250,000. 

Before it comes to New York City in the spring, 
Mississippi Triangle will visit Montgomery, 
Houston, Boston and San Francisco and will 
be screened at the 1984 Berlin International 
Film Festival. (212)243-2310, NY. 

Brown University film professor Leandro 
Katz is deep in production of a 90-minute, 
16mm color feature called Mirror on the 
Moon. Inspired by the stories of H.G. Wells 
and Jose Luis Borges, the script is written by 
Katz with dialogue by Juliana Fusco, Peter 
Wollen and Ted Castle. The story concerns the 
disappearance of a woman and her lover's at- 
tempts to find her aided by a number of her 
left -behind notebooks, written in a mysterious 
code. Although it's a suspense thriller com- 
plete with empty houses and furniture covered 
by strange silvery dust, don't believe for a sec- 
ond that this is an ordinary mystery movie. 
"The film deals in a narrative way with the 
presence and absence of the female form," 
says Katz. "Suspense and desire are created by 
her absence and she is the motivating force for 
the three male characters, though she appears 
only in the dream sequences." 
MARCH 1984 



So far, the budget for Mirror on the Moon is 
a mere $75,000, and the film is scheduled for 
completion this summer when it is slated for 
broadcast on Swiss, German and Austrian 
television. West Germany's ZDF and the 
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts have 
provided funding, and Katz is negotiating with 
Britain's Channel Four for a possible co-pro- 
duction deal. In the United States he's aiming 
for theatrical release. (401) 863-3178, RI. 

Allen and Cynthia Mondell garnered a Cine 
Golden Eagle for their 60-minute docudrama. 
West of Hester Street. The historic saga of 
Jewish immigration to the port of Galveston, 
Texas in £he 1900s is woven around the story of 
a young Jewish peddler's adjustment to life in 
the still-wild West . The film was enthusiastical- 
ly received at the San Francisco Jewish Film 




Jewish "cowboy" & friend in West of Hester Street. 

Festival and the Philadelphia Film Festival. 
West of Hester Street was funded by the Texas 
Committee for the Humanities and a $1 37,000 
challenge grant from the National Endowment 
for the Humanities. Fundraising took one 
exhausting year while research in archives, 
Jewish community services and museums 
across the country consumed another four. 
The film is narrated by actor Sam Jaffe, but 
aside from this one California transplant, West 
of Hester Street is an all-Texas creation includ- 
ing crew, actors, composer Phil Kelly and labs. 
Distributed by Media Projects, Inc. of Dallas, 
West of Hester Street is showing at selected 
film showcases around the country. (214) 
826-3863, TX. 

Video producer Michelle Parkerson's docu- 
mentary Gotta Make This Journey was aired 
on PBS in February . A 60-minute color profile 
of Sweet Honey in the Rock , a Black women 's 
acappella ensemble, Gotta Make This Journey 
highlights the individual lifestyles, social con- 
cerns and outreach to the deaf commununity 
of this remarkable group. The film is now in 
distribution through the Black Filmmaker 
Foundation, (212) 619-2481. Parkerson 
Reports that she has received research and 



development money from the Gay Education 
Fund of Washington DC for a new work about 
the Jewel Box Review, a group of female im- 
personators who toured the black theater cir- 
cuit during the 1950s and early '60s. 

SERIES REPORT 

In January "Paper Tiger Television" produc- 
ed its 50th show. The public access series aimed 
at "smashing the myths of the information in- 
dustry" appears every Wednesday at 8:30 pm 
on Manhattan Cable's Channel C. A repeat 
cablecast occurs on succeeding Thursdays 
after 4:30 pm on Channel D. On each program 
media watchers, writers and artists from 
academia and the world-at -large read national 
publications and mercilessly scrutinize their 
legitimacy. This weekly critical analysis of the 
print media is available on videocassette for 
special screenings and classroom use. Guests 
on "Paper Tiger" have included Herb Schiller 
reading The New York Times, Joan Brader- 
man with The National Enquirer, Brian 
Winston and TV Guide and Martha Rosier 
reading Vogue. 

One of the more innovative uses being made 
of New York's public access channels, "Paper 
"Tiger's" most expensive production has cost 
about $400, the major expenses being rental of 
the studio and purchase of videotape. The pro- 
duction collective, which includes Dee Dee 
Halleck, Diana Agosta, Skip Blumberg, Marty 
Lucas, Pennee Bender, Roger Politzer and 
many others bears part of the costs; a recent 
$8,000 NYSCA grant will keep the cameras 
rolling until this June. However, as the show 
moves into its second year, the producers of 
"Paper Tiger" have issued their first fundrais- 
ing appeal. Without fiscal support for the in- 
creasing energy required to produce a respon- 
sible media-watch program, the series' con- 
tinued existence could be in jeopardy. 

And finally, to the West. AIVF member and 
indie producer Frank Morrow has been pro- 
ducing a weekly hour-long access program 
called "Alternative Views" in Austin, Texas 
for the past three years, and has to his credit 
over 200 programs containing extensive inter- 
views with such social change activists as Dave 
Dellinger, Dr. Helen Caldicott and Dr. Ben- 
jamin Spock on subjects distorted or censored 
by the mass media. On an austere set decorated 
by three metal folding chairs, University of 
Texas philosophy professor Doug Kellner and 
Morrow engage guests in discussions of impor- 
tant political and social issues or air 
independently-produced documentaries with 
controversial angles. Operating on an annual 
budget of $1 ,000 and the donated energies of 
Morrow and Kellner, "Alternative Views" 
utilizes University of Texas facilities and an 
Austin studio provided by the local cable fran- 
chisee at $15/hr. Like "Paper Tiger," "Alter- 
native Views" spends the bulk of its budget on 
videotape. A catalog of the scries' programs is 
available for $3.95 from "Alternative View s," 
POB 7279-N, Austin TX 78712, (512) 
453-4894. ■ 

27 . 



THE INDEPENDENT 



(continued from page 25) 

quisition, Jackpot Prod., 2121 Wyoming St., 

Dayton OH 45410, (513) 252-0575. 

• STUDIO Wseeks women's films for screening on 
a regular basis. Call: (415) 641-9299, CA. 

• CHANNEL 35, non-profit college station broad- 
casting from San Francisco State University, in- 
terested in new progamming; anything from 
documentaries to current video art. Submit film or 
3 A" video. Contact: Susan Martin, Ch 35, SFSU, 
Broadcasting Dept., 1600 Holloway, SF CA 94132, 
(415)753-0166/469-2353. 

• ATTENTION SHORT FILMMAKERS: Show 
your work to Manhattan producers & audience on 
cable television. New program, "Film Is Art," to 
open up cable as outlet for short filmmaker. Film- 
maker pays only film-to-tape transfer cost & keeps 
% " tape after broadcast. No additional fee. Con- 
tact: Scott Seip, (212) 838-6068 10am-4pm only, 
NY. 

• WORK WANTED for series at San Francisco 
Cinematheque on use of chance operations in crea- 
tion of time-based media. Emphasis on film, but 
may also present video, poetry, performance, 
musical work & related media. Documentation of 
process desired for catalog. Send work and/or 
description of use of chance. Deadline: March 1, 
1984. Contact: James Irwin, Cinematheque, 480 
Potrero Ave., San Francisco CA 941110, (415) 
431-8717/558-8129. 

• FOX/L ORBER A SSOCIA TES, specialists in TV 
marketing & distribution, expanding feature film 
library for representation. Interested in full-length 
English language films w/primarily narrative struc- 
ture for sale to pay TV/cable, broadcast & home 
video, both domestic & foreign. Minimum length: 
60 min.; no subtitles. Contact: Ericka Markman, 
Fox/Lorber Assocs., 79 Madison Ave., #601, NY 
NY 10016; (212) 686-6777. 

• PELICAN FILMS seeks films/tapes for distribu- 
tion to holistic health movement. We offer alter- 
natives to traditional non-theatrical distribution. 
Contact: Arthur Hoyle, 3010 Santa Monica Blvd., 
#440, Santa Monica, CA 90404; (213) 399-3753. 

• NEW FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE: Collective 
for Living Cinema continues its regular series of 
screening films by new filmmakers. Intention is to 
accommodate work by individuals who as yet have 
not had access to other means of exhibition. Em- 
phasis on work of "personal" nature. Films in S-8 & 
16mm screened. Filmmakers attend & participate in 
discussion. Pre-screening required. Contact: Adam 
Zucker, (212) 966-0624, Andrea Sacker, (212) 
989-5045, NY. 

• BROOKLYN ARTS & CULTURE ASSOCIA- 
TION 18th Annual Expo accepting non-com- 
mercial, independently produced films & videos 
produced after December 1982 for representation at 
screenings in NYC & across US. Contact: BACA. 
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn NY 11238, (212) 
783-3077. 

• SHORT VIDEOTAPES wanted in 3 categories 
for spring/summer NY shows. Can offer small 
payments, amiable context & crack public relations. 
No. 1 : Are you so ironic your tape scrambles when 
you lay hands on it? Then join in the Irony Show. 
No. 2: She Saw Sheshells Down by the 
Sheshore — Women's Performance Art Video (ex- 
cerpts from live presentations; documents OK too). 

28 



No. 3: New Black Video — Call for hidden talent; the 
never-been-seens, the just-starting-outs, the too- 
shy-to-calls, etc. This means you. Send videotapes 
under 15 mins. for consideration to Hulser, AIVF, 
625 Broadway, NY NY 10012. (Please include 
return stamped mailer.) Deadline: April 20, 1984. 

• RESEARCH, PLANNING & PRODUCTION 
ASSOCIATES seeks independent productions 
under 30 mins. for domestic distribution to cable & 
industrial outlets. Special interest in nuclear sub- 
jects. Contact: Ann Perrett, RPP Assoc, PO Box 
24736, LA CA 90024, (213) 820-7984. 



CORRECTIONS: 

Our December article on EFLA 's American 
Film Festival said that Paul Jacobs and the 
Nuclear Gang (Jack Willis, Saul Landau & 
Penny Bernstein) did not win a ribbon at the 
1980 Festival. In fact, the film won a red rib- 
bon in the "International Concerns" 
category. The incorrect sentence should 
have said that the film won a red ribbon, in- 
stead of a blue, for reasons detailed in the 
report. 

In the December article on "The Territory" 
PTV show in Texas, a videotape was incor- 
rectly credited. Deus Ex Machina was pro- 
duced by Laurie MacDonald and Ed Tannen- 
baum and Randy Walters. 

In the January/February issue we mis- 
spelled the name of photographer Jeremy 
Rothman who took the picture on page 26 in 
the "Video in the Boroughs " article. 

PS: Correction to the 
Corrections Department 

In Jan/Feb Field Reports part of our 
headline migrated to greener pastures. It 
should have read: Skewed Priorities Dog 
Canada 's Video Olympics. 



Resources • Funds 

• NORTH CAROLINA VISITING ARTISTS 
PROGRAM seeks high calibre professional artists 
in all disciplines for 9 mo., 1 yr. community residen- 
cies. $12, 000-S1 8,000 w/benefits. Application 
deadline: March 1, 1984. Contact NC Visiting Artist 
Program, Community Development Section, NC 
Arts Council, Dept. of Cultural Resources, Raleigh 
NC 2761 1,(919)733-7897. 

• SCRIPT: Screenwriting Coalition for Industry 
Professionals & Teachers is newly formed consti- 
tuency group of University Film & Video Associa- 
tion aiming to develop teaching & practice of screen- 
writing through more concerted interaction between 
instructors & industry. Contact: William Miller, 
School of Telecommunications, Ohio University, 
Athens OH 45701, (614) 594-6265. 

• NYSCA: Applications for all programs due 
March 1, 1984. Contact: Mary Hays, New York 
State Council on the Arts, 80 Centre St., 8th fl., NY 
NY 10013,(212)587-4968. 

• SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THIRD WORLD 
FILM/VIDEO MAKERS: Young Film- 
makers/Video Arts invites Black, Latino, Asian & 
Native Americans to apply for partial financial aid 
for any YF/VA courses. Call: (212) 673-9361, NY. 

• FOR US WOMEN: New national publication of- 
fers latest information on grants, loans & awards for 



women. Contact: For Us Publications, POB-33247, 
Fajragut Sta., Washington DC 20033. 

• LIGHTING, GRIP EQUIPMENT REPAIR & 
MAINTENANCE: Design special rigs & ac- 
cessories; experienced w/HMI lighting units. 4 yrs. 
experience w/ Elmack dollies. Contact: Chris, (212) 
499-3219, NY 

• OPPORTUNITIES IN PUBLIC ART: This 
15-yr.-old organization seeks artists interested in 
producing innovative public art for plazas, 
playgrounds & other public spaces in NYC. Con- 
tact: Vivian Linares, Cityarts Workshop, Inc., 417 
Lafayette St., NY NY 10003, (212) 673-8670. 

• MOM A CIRCULATING VIDEO LIBRARY: 
Museum of Modern Art parallel service to Cir- 
culating Film Library now rents & sells 45 titles by 42 
videomakers representing US independent video 
from 1 972 to present . 52 pp . catalog guide to collec- 
tion available. Contact: Circulating Video Library, 
MOMA, 11 West 53 St., NY NY 10019, (212) 
956^204. 

• CHILDREN'S FILM ARCHIVE ESTAB- 
LISHED: Dedicated to collection, exhibition & 
presentation of 16mm & S-8 works by young film- 
makers, kindergarten through 12th grade. Exhibi- 
tions will begin early Spring 1984 at Lincoln Center 
Children 's Library & Queens College Center for Im- 
provement of Education in Middle Grades . Archive 
is seeking works of any length, color or b&w, 
realistic or abstract made by students still in school 
through 12th grade. Contact: Lori Schneider 
Cramer, Children's Film Archive, Astoria Motion 
Picture & TV Foundation, 34-31 35 Ave., Astoria 
NY 11106, (212)784-4520. 

• INTERAUDIOVISUEL, French government 
agency established to promote co-production & ex- 
change of diverse audiovisual products between US 
& France. Will acquire foreign programming for 
French public cable systems, give legal assistance re- 
garding international audiovisual problems, pro- 
vides database on audiovisual media & public 
library & documentation center. Contact: Yves 
Eudes, Interaudiovisuel, 34 Ave. Marceau, 75008 
Paris, France, tel. 1-720-20-42. 

• PORTLAND CABLE ACCESS has acquired 
new facility to be known as North Portland Access 
Center. Currently under renovation, completed 
facility will house offices, conference room, por- 
table equipment, check-out, 2 editing rooms & 1 ,000 
sq. ft. studio & complete control room. Contact: 
PCA, 5507 N. Lombard, Portland OR 97203. 

• PRODUCTION SERVICE: Asian Cinevision 
provides consultation, production design, equip- 
ment rental, location taping, viewing, editing & 
duplicating. Special arrangements may be made for 
video documentation and/or video production for 
broadcast & non-broadcast use. Call: (212) 
925-8685, NY. 

• GLOBAL VILLAGE 1983-1984 FACILITIES 
GRANTS for video artists in tri-state area. Grants, 
awarded in equipment time, allow 2-3 artists to use 
Global Village production & postproduction 
facilities to complete videotapes aimed for broad- 
cast which are already in progress . If desired, grants 
include executive producing services, production 
advice, distribution aid & promotion services. 
Application deadline: April 15, 1984. Contact: Julie 
Pantelick, Global Village, 454 Broome St., NY NY 
10013,(212)966-7526. 

• COMING OUT WEST? NY indies planning to 
shoot in northern California or Bay Area can save 

MARCH 1084 



THE INDEPENDENT 



time & money by contacting Karil Daniels to coor- 
dinate most effective, least expensive shoot possible. 
Ten years experience w/San Francisco independent 
film community. Contacts to quality freelance crew 
members, locations, equipment, services & supplies 
at best rates. Contact: Point of View Prods., 2477 
Folsom St., San Francisco CA 94110; (415) 
821-0435. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A & B rolls cut, 
scenes pulled for opticals etc. Color & b&w, re- 
versal, negative stocks. Reliable service, reasonable 
rates. Call: (212) 786-6278, NY. 

• GOT A RIGHTS PROBLEM? Want to use 
recording, film footage, obtain music license, get 
rights to literary work or photo? Barbara Zimmer- 
man's service provides solutions to these problems & 
more. Special free initial consultation for readers 
who mention they saw this ad in The Independent. 
Contact: Barbara Zimmerman, 145 West 86 St., NY 
NY 10024; (212) 580-0615. 

• OMNI PROPS: Specializing in design &construc- 
tion of strange, unusual props & set pieces for film, 
video, photography. Contact: Richard Sands, 179 
Grand St., Brooklyn NY 11211; (212) 387-3744. 

• PENNY WARD/VIDEO: Documentation of 
dance, theatre workships & performances. Col- 
laboration & consultation; ex-dancer sympathetic to 
dancers' needs. Video for dance research projects. 
Video resumes of choreography for grant applica- 
tions. Contact: Penny Ward, (212) 228-1427, NY. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR at non-profit film 
arts center. Position available Oct. 1, 1984. Ad- 
ministrative, leadership, communications, 
organizational & fundraising skills required, as well 
as working knowledge of indie film community. 
Masters or equivalent. Send resume, 3 letters of 
reference & salary requirements before April 1, 
1984. Contact: Search Committee, Collective for 
Living Cinema, 52 White St., NY NY 10013, (212) 
925-3926. 

• EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR at the Kitchen. Seek- 
ing candidates w/strong background in program- 
ming, fundraising & administration, knowledge of 
avant-garde art forms & substantial experience as 
director of not-for-profit arts organization. Job 
responsibilities include planning & implementation 
of artistic programs, general management & Board 
development for approximately $1 -million opera- 
tion. Send resume. Contact: Jeannette Vuocolo, 
The Kitchen, 59 Wooster St., NY NY 10012. No 
phone inquiries. EOE M/F/V/H. 

• INFORM A TION DIRECTOR: To oversee infor- 
mation services at Media Center for Children. Posi- 
tion available March 1, 1984. Requires ad- 
ministrative experience in media information ser- 
vices or related field; previous experience working 
w/children, writing, editing & typing skills; will- 
ingness to learn word processing; organizational & 
cataloging skills; attention to detail; ability to work 
autonomously; willingness to meet deadlines; sense 
of humor. Send resume & informational writing 
sample. Contact: Maureen Gaffney, Executive 
Director, MCC, 3 West 29 St., NY NY 10001 . EOE. 

• 2 POSITIONS A VAILABLE at Grand Valley 
State College; beginning August 1984 or sooner. 
Assistant Professor of Communications: 
Video/Film; & Associate or Full Professor of Com- 
munications w/assignment to Directorship o 
School of Communications. Both positions require 

MARCH 1984 



strong liberal arts/academic background, signifi- 
cant professional experience & skills in communica- 
tions field. Send resume, statement of teaching 
philosophy, 3 letters of reference. Assistant Pro- 
fessor applicants include videography. Contact: 
Dean Forrest Armstrong, Division of Arts & 
Humanities, Grand Valley State College, Allendale 
MI 49401. 

• PRODUCTION MANAGER WANTED to 
budget sci fi drama currently on rounds 
w/producers. Payment deferral until property is op- 
tioned or sold. Contact: Jim, (212) 564-6156, NY. 

• WANTED: Filmmaker for 3-mo. Arctic expedi- 
tion beginning summer 1985 from Toronto, Canada 
on 4 1 -ft sailboat . Experience in marine photography 
& filming of sailing action. Must have his/her own 
16mm equipment. Contact: Leslie & Carolann Sike, 
#712-100 Parkway Forest Dr., Willowdale Ontario 
M2J 1L6 Canada. 

• SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION 
seeks film/videomakers for its roster of media art- 
ists available to work in its Filmmakers-in- 
Education program . Submit resume & copies of S-8 , 
16mm sound or silent films l A " color & b&w 
videotapes. Include production dates & self- 
addressed, stamped mailer. Allow 6-8 wks. for 
review. Contact: Personnel Office, SCAC, 1800 
Gervais St., Columbia SC 29201 . 



Publications 

• VIDEO REGISTER 1983-84: Completely re- 
vised 6th edition includes 3,000 professional TV 
operations in industry, medicine, cable, religion, 
government & education in US; 650 
production/post-production facilities & wide 
assortment of consultants & video dealers. Listing 
of Cable Access/Origination Centers indentifies 
more than 600 facilites where programming is pro- 
duced for access & local cable origination channels. 
Hundreds of producers, resources & manufacturers 
listed. Softcover; $47.50. Contact: Knowledge In- 
dustry Publications, 701 Westchester Ave., White 
Plains NY 10604, (914) 328-9157. 

• NEW ZEALAND FILM & TELEVISION DI- 
RECTORY: Comprehensive listing of facilities & 
professionals required to make films in New 
Zealand. Complete production survey. $66. Con- 
tact: Marlyn Publishing, POB-7085, Wellesley St., 
Auckland N. Zealand. 

• ON ART & ARTISTS: 60 pp. annotated catalog 
of videotapes distributed by Video Data Bank . Over 
200 artists & critics talk on contemporary art. $2. 
Contact: VDB, School of Art Institute of Chicago, 
Columbus Dr. /Jackson Blvd., Chicago IL 60603, 
(312)443-3793. 

• FEAR OF FILING: A Beginner's Guide to Tax 
Preparation & Record Keeping for Artists, Per- 
formers, Writers & Freelance Professionals. 4th edi- 
tion, edited by Theodore W. Striggles, Esq. & Bar- 
bara Sieck Taylor. Expanded sections on grant in- 
come, deductible expenses, unemployment, income 
from freelancing. New sections on surviving an 
audit, tax consequences of forming partnerships & 
corpoiations, income averaging. $12.95 plus $2 
postage/first copy. $1 postage/each additional 
copy. Contact: Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, 
1560 Broadway, Ste. 711, NY NY 10036, (212) 
575-1150. 

• CRITICAL STUDIES IN MASS COM- 
MUNICA TION: New scholarly journal focuses on 




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THE INDEPENDENT 



range of critical perspectives which help define ex- 
panding area of mass communications research. 
Rhetorical, literary, dramatic & ideological ap- 
proaches to media content. Organizational, struc- 
tural & technological analyses of mass media 
systems. $35/yr. Contact: Speech Communications 
Association, 5105 Backlick Rd. #E, Annandale VA 
22003. 

• S8 IN THE VIDEO A GE by Bob Brodsky & Toni 
Treadway now available in Spanish, $10, USA. Dis- 
counts for residents of Latin America due to grant 
from Ford Foundation. 2nd English edition now 
$14.95 pre-paid. Contact: Brodsky & Treadway, 63 
Dimick St., Somerville MA 02143. 

Freelancers 

• CAMERA ASSISTANT w/Aaton 7 LTR for 
hire. Lighting & grip package available. Contact: 
John, (914) 473-0633, NY. 

• RESEARCHER: Access & familiarity w/all NYC 
libraries & Library of Congress in DC. Efficient & 
meticulous w/background in history, political 
economy & filmmaking. Rate negotiable. Contact: 
Danny, (212)924-4711, NY. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER A VAILABLE w/Arri 
16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent in French, 
Spanish. Negotiable rates. Contact: Pedro Bonilla,. 
(212)662-1913, NY. 

• NEWS CREW AVAILABLE w/16mm & V* " 
production gear. Professional credits on request. 
Contact: Pacific St. Films, 630 Ninth Ave., NY NY 
10036,(212)875-9722. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER A VAILABLE for fic- 
tion, documentary. Fully equipped including Aaton 
7LTR, Cooke 10.4-52, 16 or S16, Super Speed, L. 
T1.3. Reasonable rates. Contact: IgorSunara, (212) 
249-0416, NY. 

• PENNY WARD/VIDEO: Rentals — Sony 
DXC-1 800 camera, Beta 1 Portapak, mic& monitor 
w/operator, $150 day; same w/VO-4800 deck, 
$175/day. Transfers— Vi " Beta to V* ", $10/hr. 
Viewing— Vi "I Beta& V* ", $5/hr. Editor— $10/hr. 
Call: (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER AVAILABLE w/JVC 4700 
. 3 /4"deck, JVC KY1900 3 -tube camera, full audio & 

Mole Richards on location lighting setups. 
$300/day. Flexible for longer shoots. Also 
available: multi-camera studio & control room, 
mobile multi-camera unit, Vi " & 3 A " editing. "We 
work within your budget. " Contact: Mike, ProCam 
Productions, (516) 379-6492, LI, NY. 

• SCRIPT SUPER VISOR A VAILABLE to work 
on low-budget features or shorts. Contact: Mindy, 
(212)636-1426, NY. 

• ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR, currently 
freelancing in print, looking for work in production 
design. Some film experience; resume, portfolio 
available. Contact: Eva, (212)724-3879, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/new Sony DXC-M3 
3-tube camera ready to shoot docs, dance & other 
projects. Deck, mics, accessories & crew as needed. 
Rates negotiable. Contact: L. Goodsmith, (212) 
989-8157, NY. 

• MIDWESTERN CAMERA: Arri SR w/shooter 
30 



or ACO. Industrial, spot & doc background. Con- 
tact: Tom Bell, (616) 866-9698, MI. 

• COMPOSER: Experienced in all styles available 
for work. Tape & bio sheet on request. Call: Adam 
Groden, (516) 796-3233, NY. 

• GAFFER A VAILABLE for low-budget features 
or shorts. 12 yrs. experience including theater, 
video, film. Contact, Chris, (212) 499-3219, NY. 

• EXPERIENCED VIDEOGRAPHER with film 
background available. Sample reel on request. W7 
or w/o own broadcast rig. Rates negotiable for 
social -issue type work . Call David Shulman at (2 1 2) 
966-0804, NY. 



Coming 
Attractions 



Theatrical Distributors 
Pick Up Indies 

Outsiders & Insiders in 
Anthropological Film 

Interview with Alan 
Fountain of British Ch. 4 

Festivals: Mill Valley, 
Munich, Locarno 



In upcoming issues of THE 

INDEPENDENT 



Trims • Glitches 

• URGENT CALL: The Nicaraguan Film Institute 
(INCINE), co-producer of Academy Award- 
nominee Alcino & the Condor, has run out of film 
stock & can no longer obtain dollars to buy film on 
the open market. Itneeds 16mm color&35mm color 
& b&w negative stocks. Anyone who would like to 
donate spare rolls of film, short ends & dated film 
should contact the NABET office as soon as possi- 
ble. Those wishing to help buy film for INCINE may 
make checks or money orders to INCINE. Average 
cost of 1 roltof 16mm film is $65. Contact: NABET, 
(212)265-3500, NY. 

• COLLECTIVE FOR LIVING CINEMA touring 
program entitled "10 Years of Living 
Cinema— Selections" is available for rental through 
December 1985. Reflects artistic & social concerns 
of avant-garde filmmakers, 1973-1983. Features 
work of 23 filmmakers including Ernie Gehr, 
Robert Breer & Marjorie Keller. Contact: Mary 
Filippo, (212)925-3926, NY. ■ 



The Independent welcomes letters to the 
editors, send them to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New YorkNY 10012. Letters may be edited for 
length and clarity. 



PRINCIPLES & RESOLUTIONS 
OF THE ASSOCIATION 



AIVF FOUNDING PRINCIPLES 



1. The Association is a trade association 
of and for independent video and film- 
makers. 

2. The Association encourages ex- 
cellence, commitment and independence; 
it stands for the principle that video and 
filmmaking is more than just a job — it 
goes beyond economics to involve the ex- 
pression of broad human values. 

3. The Association works, though the 
combined efforts of its membership, to 
provide practical, informational and 
moral support for independent video and 
filmmakers and is dedicated to ensuring 
the survival of, and providing for, the 
continuing growth of independent video 
and filmmaking. 

4. The Association does not limit its sup- 
port to one genre, ideology or aesthetic, 
but furthers diversity of vision in artistic 
and social consciousness. 

5. The Association champions indepen- 
dent video and film as valuable and vital 
expressions of our culture and is deter- 
mined, by mutual action, to open path- 
ways toward exhbition of this work to the 
community at large. 



AIVF RESOL UTIONS 



1. To affirm the creative use of media in 
fostering cooperation, community and 
justice in human relationships without 
respect to age, sex, race, class or religion. 

2. To recognize and reaffirm the freedom 
of expression of the independeni film and 
videomaker, as spelled out in the AIVF 
principles. 

3. To promote constructive dialogue and 
heighiened awareness among the 
membership of the social, artistic and per- 
sonal choices involved in the pursuit of 
both independent and sponsored work, 
via such mechanisms as screenings and 
forums. 

4. To continue to work to strengthen 
AIVF \s services to independents, in order 
to help reduce the membership's 
dependence on the kinds of sponsorship 
which encourage the compromise of per- 
sonal values. 



MARCH 1984 




"AATON 

ACTUALLY MADE 

ME SHOOT BETTER." 

Robert Elfstrom 
What's extraordinary 
about this hand-built, 
state-of-the-art 16MM 
camera is what it adds to 
your artistic and profes- 
sional capabilities. And 
that the Aaton LTR also 
gives you Super 16MM. 

"AATON BECOMES PART 

OF YOUR BODY, PART OF 

YOUR VISION." 

Haskell Wexler 
Aaton s perfect balance 
lightness, and maneuver- 
ability, the way it drapes 
effortlessly over the 
shoulder makes it the 
first camera designed from 
your P.OV 

The LTR viewing 
screen is the biggest and 
brightest because Aaton 
developed a special con- 
cave fiber optic device to 
make it that way. Aaton's 
rock steady registration, 
back focus stability 
(to within 5 microns) and 
vertical accuracy (to 
l/2000th of a frame) cap- 
ture all that sharpness on 
film. Aaton features a 
6 to 54 fps variable frame 



"MY AATON IS SO QUIET, 

I CAN SHOOT IN A 

CONFESSION BOOTH." 

Albert Maysles 
With its brushless 
motor, gear drive power 
transmission and patented 
posi-claw movement, the 
LTR is quiet by design. 
The rigid internal chassis 
isolates and dampens 
shock, and the film trans- 
port is vibration-free. 

"I'VE TAKEN MY AATON 

FROM THE JUNGLES OF 

PERU TO THE ARCTIC AND 

NEVER HAD A PROBLEM." 

Pierre de Lespinois 
Aatons have logged 
millions of film and land 
miles. And they've been 
dropped down mountains, 
dunked in oceans, buried 
in deserts— and worked. 
That's because the mech- 
anical and optical parts 
are mounted separate 
from the outer shell. 
And because its modular 
design lets you change 
the electronics or even 



"IT'S AMAZING HOW WELL 

SUPER 16MM COMPARES 

WITH 35MM." 

American Cinematographer 
People like Robert 
Altman, Haskell Wexler, 
Ed Lachman and Robert 
Elfstrom shot features 
and documentaries with 
Aaton because Super 16 
makes good sense. So if 
you have to choose one 
camera, it makes sense to 
choose the one that's two. 
Aaton LTR. 
"IN A COMBAT SITUATION, 
FILM WAS LIKE GOLD. 
AATON CTR SAVED MY LIFE." 
Tom Sigel 
The Clear Time 
Recording option frees 
you from the clapper and 
slate and gives you con- 
tinuous synch. That's 
superb when you're 
remote. And pretty handy 
when you're under fire. 
"IF YOU GOT A PROBLEM, 
HE'LL FIX IT." 

Robert Sui livan 
Les Zellan backs you 



up with quick service, a 
complete parts inventory 
and dependable informa- 
tion and technical advice. 
And with a three year 
warrantee, a toll-free tele- 
phone number, and offices 
in NY and LA. There's even 
a "Dire Emergency " 
loaner policy. Call Zellan 
and arrange for a demon- 
stration of the Aaton LTR. 
"Without a doubt, the most 
advanced 16MM camera in 
the world.". And the only 
one that's 
also Super 



Aaton 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



INDEPENDENT 

APRIL 1984, VOLUME 7, NUMBER 3 

Publisher: Lawrence Sapadin 

Editor: Kathleen Hulser 

Associate Editors: Susan Linfield, 

Renee Tajima 

Contributing Editors: Bob Brodsky, 

Debra Goldman, Mary Guzzy, Fenton 

Johnson, Jacqueline Leger, David 
Leitner, Wendy Lidell, Toni Treadway 
Contributors: Wanda Bershen, Maria 
Cohen, Deborah Erickson, David Keller, 
Melody Pariser, Todd Radom, Andrea 
Rawson, Pauline Spiegel, Daresha Ullah, 
Adrienne Weiss 
Art Director: Deborah Payne 
Art Assistant: Giannella Garrett 
Advertising: Barbara Spence 
Distributor: Bernhard DeBoer 
Typesetting: Skeezo Typography 
Printer: Pet Cap Press 
• 
The Independent is published 10 times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FI VF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor.New 
York, NY 10012, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt 
educational foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AlVF), the national trade association of in- 
dependent producers and individuals involved in 
independent video and film. Subscription is in- 
cluded with membership in AIVF. Together, 
FI VF and AIVF provide a broad range of educa- 
tional and professional services for in- 
dependents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Articles in The Independent are contributed 
by our members and supporters. If you have an 
idea for, or wish to contribute, an article to The 
Independent, contact the editor at the above ad- 
dress. 

The copyright in all articles contained in The 
Independent is jointly owned by FIVF and the 
particular author, except where otherwise noted . 
Consequently, the right to reprint same will re- 
quire the written permission of both FIVF and 
the particular author. Views expressed are those 
of the authors, and not necessarily of AIVF or 
FIVF. ©FIVF 1984 

• 

AIVF /FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, executive 
director; Wendy Lidell, assistant director; Isaac Jackson, media 
coordinator; Andrea Estepa, membership services; Mary Guzzy, 
information services; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project 
administrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVFBOARDSOFDlRECTORS.RobcnMchter, presi- 
dent; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian Jimenez, chair; 
Peter Kinoy, secretary; Matt Clarke, treasurer; Pearl Bowser; 
Loni Ding; Denise Oliver; Howard Petrick; Lawrence Sapadin 
(ex officio); Richard Schmiechen; Tom Turley. 

A Publication of 

The Foundation for 
Independent Video & Film 

The Association of 

Independent Video & 

Filmmakers 



CONTENTS 



Features 

The Case of the Well-Mannered Guest 

Ethnographic Filmmakers Become Insiders at a Price • Pauline Spiegel 

INPUT Conference: Innovative TV Programming 

All Dressed Up and No Place to Show • Wanda Bershen 

Theatrical Track: From Courtship to Contract 

Indies Negotiate Distribution Pick-ups — The Good & The Bad* Renee Tajima 



Interview with Ben Barenholtz 

Head of Libra Cinema 5 Distributors Talks about the Biz i 

Columns 



15 



13 



18 



21 



Susan Linfield 



Media Clips • Chicago Access Corp Gears Up 4 

Also, National Black Programming Consortium, NYSCA, CAPS • Goldman & Tajima 

Super-3 • Brussels Sprouts 8 

Tips from Abroad on Blooming International Scene • Brodsky & Treadway 

In Focus • One from the Lab 1 

How to Read Your Lab Timing Lights • David Leitner 

Festivals • Locarno is Leopard on the Lake 22 

Also, Mill Valley, Munich, AFI Video & Dead Fish • Lidell & Pariser 

In & Out of Production 30 

Mary Guzzy 

Notices 27 

Edited by Mary Guzzy 

COVER: Are those lines for us, now that independents are finding wider theatrical distribution? 
See article by Renee Tajima, page 18. Illustration by Todd Radom. 



Letter from Sweden 

The Reflect Film Group 



My first contact with filmmaking came in 
1982, when I had a small job as an extra in a 
production for Swedish television. Ever 
since, I have been possessed by filmmaking. 
Soon after that job I decided to start a film- 
group. As far as I know there had never been 
one in Sweden before. Yes, there are some 
amateur groups, but I wanted a group of pro- 
fessionals. About 10 people answered my ad- 
vertisement, and the group soon had 12 
members; nine of us had previously worked 
with film in some capacity. The youngest 
member was 16 years old and the oldest (me) 
was 32. 

We named our group Reflect Film and de- 
cided to make a short film to see how we 
worked together. A three-minute abstract 
Super-8 film called EX 1 resulted, and we 
were pleased with our work. EX 1 was shown 
at the Malmo Hall of Art in April 1983. 

After that we wanted to make a longer film 
in 16mm. We wrote a script and a budget of 
about half a million Swedish kroner and sent 
it to the Swedish Film Institute, which funds 
filmmaking. They said, "No." During the 
same period I chased after money in every 
corner of Sweden and the answer was, "No, 
no, no." Finally the Malmo city cultural sup- 



port committee gave us 68,000 kroner for a 
used 16mm film camera. We found a year-old 
Arri BL, and it's a beauty. I'm still chasing 
after more money for the other things we 
need to make a 16mm film, but we do have 
enough S-8 equipment. 

Why have we created only two small S-8 
films in such a long time? The problem is 
money. Also, we don't have any "free" TV 
stations in Sweden; Swedish TV is owned by 
the state and hardly buys any freelance pro- 
ductions. The Reflect Film members think 
it's terribly wrong that TV and radio should 
be owned by the state and we hope that a 
change will come. And maybe it will — but it 
takes time. There is a discussion going on in 
Sweden about whether Swedish TV should 
produce and show commercials. (We don't 
have them here — yet!) 

Reflect Film is non-profit, and we don't 
have an AIVF organization for support. I 
hope we can start a dialogue between US 
independents and Swedish ones! We have 
problems here but we will not give in, and we 
think we have a lot to learn from US 
independents. If you are interested please 
send a letter to: Reflect Film, Osbygatan 
16A, S-214 43 Malmo, Sweden. 
— A nnckie Espe bo M 

The Independent welcomes letters to the 
editors. Send them to FIVE, 625 Broadway. 
New York NY 10012. Letters may be edited 
for length and clarity. 



APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 



Chicago Futures— New 
Aspects of Access Soon 



DEBRA GOLDMAN 

"Hurry up and wait" is the theme of most 
urban cable franchising stories, and Chicago's 
tale is no exception . Several years after the first 
request-for-proposals was issued, contracts 
for four of the city's five designated franchise 
areas were made public last January. Although 
the contracts still have several hurdles to cross 
before the city and companies sign the dotted 
line, the process has stirred the area's media ac- 
tivists. Currently putting its house in order is 
the Chicago Access Corporation (CAC), the 
independent access facilitator to which fran- 
chisees have tentatively committed several 
million dollars a year. 

In the current arrangement, Chicago's fu- 
ture cable companies are obligated to provide 
CAC with three forms of support. These in- 
clude a lump payment of start-up funds, a 
yearly allocation based on a percentage of 
revenues (with a guaranteed minimum), and 
equipment grants. Although Cablevision in 
Boston has pledged a larger percentage of 
revenue to access, the sheer size of the Chicago 
franchises will probably make CAC the most 
wealthy organization of its kind in the country. 

Chicago-area independents, facing the 
prospect of all this money being invested in stu- 
dios and equipment in their hometown, are 
wondering how they might fit into the picture. 
Back in 1971, when New York City first wrung 
a public access commitment from the cable in- 
dustry, the mandate included no provisions for 
producing programming. Organized indepen- 
dent videomakers, running media centers on 
small grants, stepped into the breach, pro- 
viding facilities and training for access pro- 
ducers. Today in Chicago, independents find 
themselves largely outside the heavily 
bankrolled access scene. The question for in- 
dependents: Should they carve out a niche for 
themselves within CAC, and if so, how? 

One Chicago mediamaker who would like to 
see some CAC dollars come independents' way 
is Howard Gladstone, president of Chicago 
Area Film and Video Network. "It would be 
naive to use this money to purchase equipment 
and build studios," Gladstone insists, 
"without creating a hospitable structure for in- 
dependents and the tradition they bring with 
them. Independents have long been the 
primary reflectors of community concerns. 
And they have experience in creating creative 
programming." 

The Network, a year -old coalition of media 



organizations and producers groups, plans to 
present CAC with a proposal insuring in- 
dependent access to CAC resources. At 
presstime, two versions of the proposal were 
under consideration. The first would establish 
a special production fund, for which area in- 
dependents would compete. The second is an 
artists-in-residence program, also structured 
competitively. The AIR program would pro- 
vide selected independents with a stipend and 
access to CAC facilities to create their own 
work; or, alternately, artists would go on 
salary, in return for which they would dedicate 
a certain number of hours per week assisting 
community organizations with getting their 
programs over the wire. Both structures, 
Gladstone admits, face an uphill fight. 

The first challenge facing Chicago indies is 
to increase CAC's awareness of the media- 
maker community. The current CAC board 
consists of 17 individuals and representatives 
of 33 non-profit organizations selected by 
then-Mayor Jane Byrne last April. Despite a 
partially successful lobbying effort to increase 
the number of grassroots organizations, the 
Board of Directors remains top-heavy in in- 
stitutions with solid political connections, 
representatives of Chicago's social service 
bureaucracies, and well-to-do citizens con- 
nected to various banks, hospitals, sym- 
phonies and museums. Woefully under- 
represented are independent producers: Ted 
William Theodore, a founder of the Center 
for New Television, Virginia Robbins of Com- 
munity Television Network and a represen- 
tative from the Catholic Television network all 
but complete the list. One board member, 
media activist Cathy Lang, notes ruefully, 
"There are people on the CAC who don't 
know very much about cable, let alone public 
access or production." 

Lang, who is cable projects director at Con- 
cerned Citizens on the Media and one of the 
few CAC members with connections to the in- 
die community, is sympathetic to Gladstone's 
concern that CAC resources be made available 
to independents, but doesn't consider this a 
priority. "CAC's first obligation is to max- 
imize the ability of the public to utilize access. 
In the beginning we will be concentrating on 
constructing neighborhood studios and pro- 
viding technical assistance." She 
acknowledges that the amount of money that 
will be invested in CAC is relatively large, but 



adds, "CAC is a very capital-intensive effort. 
We have a huge area to service, and a lot of 
funds will go into maintenance and upgrade. " 

Another obstacle is the sticky question of 
copyright. "We're going to have to figure out 
who owns the tapes produced through CAC 
and whether CAC itself retains certain owner- 
ship rights," Lang said. "The Chicago cable 
ordinance is very specific: CAC-produced 
tapes cannot be used for any profit purpose 
whatsoever within the Chicago area. A 
videomaker will not be able to make a tape and 
sell it to, say, a suburban system. " Selling tapes 
outside the Chicago marketplace is a legal issue 
still to be clarified. "CAC might be a good 
resource for those who want exposure and can 
afford not to make money," she says, "but 
first we have to see if the funds will be 
available." 

Lang's "wait and see" attitude runs counter 
to some sentiment at CAC that, according to 
Gladstone, "no one should receive preference; 
if you fund one person over another, it's no 
longer public access." Much will depend on 
successfully convincing the board that finan- 
cial assistance to individual independents is a 
valid means of serving the public interest. Yet 
there are independents in Chicago who doubt 
that the struggle will be worth it. Many balk at 
the tough non-profit strictures built into CAC. 
Rather than picking their way through the 
political landmines of the "independent" ac- 
cess corporation and playing yet another varia- 
tion of the grants proposal game, some indies 
want to go straight to the marketplace: they are 
looking to sponsored programming for local 
origination and leased access channels. Some 
Center for New Television veterans like 
Theodore and Tom Weinberg are putting 
together the Chicago Channel with an eye to 
providing a channel with locally produced pro- 
gramming. However, as with many of the leas- 
ed access channels promised by systems 
operators, there is concern in Chicago as to 
adequate regulation of leasing fees. "It is 
possible that national syndicators will 
dominate leased access," Gladstone says. 
"Fees might be set that would be cheap for 
them, but too expensive for independents." 
Indies who want a spot on cable, he maintains, 
need the insurance of a liaison within CAC. 

It will probably be more than a year before 
cable is laid in the streets of Chicago, but 
Lang's advice to Gladstone and his co-workers 
is to immediately start creating greater 
awareness of independents' needs at CAC. 
Producers "should just start taking folks out 
to lunch," she suggests, "and see what kind of 
constituency they can get. " At present the ap- 
pointed board is drafting bylaws that will 
create the structure for electing a new slate of 
directors. That election is due by this August, 
and an organized effort might win crucial seats 
on CAC for indie producers, giving them in- 
fluence over how the facilitator's money is 
spent. Gladstone may be right that access is an 
important aspect of the independent tradition. 
The question remains if it is also part of its 
future. — DG 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Black TV Program 
Consortium Takes New Turn 

The National Black Programming Consor- 
tium (NBPC), which was established three 
years ago "to assemble and distribute stereo- 
type-free, positive image Black programs" to 
public television, has recently taken a sharp 
turn in direction and has begun to coproduce 
programming on its own. According to ex- 
ecutive director Mabel Haddock, the NBPC 
intends to move into production because "it is 
difficult to find high quality American films 
that treat Blacks in a fair light"— a claim not 
likely to fare well among the struggling Black 
independent film community. 



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Michelle Parkerson's But Then, She's Betty Carter 
was picked up by the Black Programming Consortium. 

NPBC, along with the Latino Consortium, 
the Native American Public Broadcasting 
Consortium, the National Asian American 
Telecommunications Association (NAATA) 
and the Asian/Pacific Islanders Program 
Consortium, was established in 1981 by the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a sup- 
plemental program service to the Public Broad- 
casting Service, which had been under fire for its 
lack of minority programming. 

NBPC's goals of "eliminating racial 
stereotypes and providing alternative images 
to those portrayed on commercial television" 
have remained constant, while its tactics for 
fulfilling such goals have drastically altered. 
In the beginning, NBPC claimed to focus its 
efforts on acquiring and programming the 
works of Black independents. (However, of 
the 140 titles in is 1981 program catalogue, 
only 24 were independently-produced pro- 
grams.) Most of the consortium's programs 
were either 30-minute magazine format pro- 
ductions or "performance" pieces submitted 
by public television stations which are consor- 
tium members. 

The change in stated programming strategy 
came as a result of a survey which NBPC cir- 
culated to its member stations in the spring of 
1983. Station managers indicated a preference 
for documentary and performance materials 
delivered as mini-specials or in a mini-series 
format. Accordingly, NBPC now plans to 
coproduce up to five new programs a year and 
APRIL 1984 



to slot its programming into special events 
such as Black History Month, Martin Luther 
King Day and Black Music Month. 

Haddock says that lack of funding is forc- 
ing NBPC to move away from acquisitions. 
Of its $200,000 grant from CPB (its primary 
funding source), $70-80,000 is allocated for 
acquisitions. Depending on the quality of a 
production, NBPC pays $30-200 per finished 
minute. Such a budget clearly allows for a 
significant volume of acquisitions from in- 
dependents at a fairly competitive rate. If 
NBPC paid the maximum within its budget of 
$200 per minute for five 60-minute acquisi- 
tions, money would still remain for other pur- 
chases. This year the organization received 
the same funding from CPB as in previous 
years, which, Haddock asserts, "with infla- 
tion and other economic concerns. . .is equal 
to a cut in funds." However, a percentage of 
those funds could be channeled back to 
members of the independent film community, 
many of whom are eager to produce those 
"alternative images." 

Even at the prices currently paid, film- 
makers are not ecstatic about NBPC's con- 
tract because it tries to secure all rights. 
Many independents feel that NBPC does not 
offer fees high enough to justify an exclusive, 
all-rights contract. Filmmaker Spike Lee 
(Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads) 
described NBPC's terms as "not favorable to 
filmmakers." Also, at least three of the film- 
makers surveyed for this article reported that 
NBPC had not followed through on contracts 
and proposals. 

As for the effort to undertake coproduc- 
tions, it seems that so far NBPC and the Black 
independent film community have crossed 
wires and missed one another. Of NBPC's 
first three coproductions, at least two of the 
second parties involved are not from the 
Black community. Never Turn Back: The 
Life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a documentary 
about a woman who emerged from virtual 
anonymity to become a leading force in the 
Black voter registration drive of the 60's, was 
coproduced with Tracy Sugerman, while 
Generations of Resistance, a documentary 
which traces the history of Black resistance to 
white rule in South Africa, was coproduced 
with Peter Davis. Both are white producers. 

Experienced Black independents may be 
understandably upset over seeing NBPC's 
money go to well-established white producers 
who could obtain financing elsewhere. Had- 
dock said that "programs are acceptable 
when produced by non-Blacks as long as they 
represent the experience of Blacks in a 
positive light." She added, "Even in the case 
of programs produced by non-Blacks, there is 
usually a significant minority input." Given 
the realities of the Black presence (or lack 
thereof) on television, one must not be too 
eager to criticize efforts of this fledgling 
organization to establish itself and work with 
whoever produces positive Black program- 
ming, regardless of class or color. Never- 
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THE INDEPENDENT 



not stressing projects emanating from Black 
producers deeply involved with their own 
communities. 

A poll of twelve Black independents reveals 
that many are not only unaware that they are 
supposed to be the "target market" for 
NBPC acquisition shopping, but don't even 
know the consortium exists. Only three were 
fully aware of the function of the organiza- 
tion, while two had been solicited for submis- 
sions but knew little about the organization. 
Of the three familiar with NBPC, one well- 
known figure declined to be interviewed be- 
cause she "didn't think the organization was 
doing what it should be doing," and therefore 
"didn't really want to get involved." The 
complaint expressed by producer Michelle 
Parkerson (But Then She's Betty Carter, Got- 
ta Make This Journey) and echoed by others 
was that even though there is now an increase 
in Black programming, "it is less than what it 
should be, too limited in its focus, and ghetto- 
ized. And it's played either all at once or at in- 
opportune times." She further explained, 
"We don't see minority programming across 
the board on any given day. It's always a 
special occasion." 

All of those interviewed agreed that 
NBPC — with its potential for creating and 
supporting quality Black programming 



— should make a concerted effort to reach the 
Black independent film community. Many 
suggested that NBPC create some sort of 
alliance with the Black Filmmaker Founda- 
tion. 

Unfortunately, NBPC's annual con- 
ference, traditionally one of its major links to 
the Black independent film community, has 
been cancelled this year due to insufficient 
registration. The problem was not a decline in 
the interest and energy of Black in- 
dependents, but rather the absence of pre- 
viously available travel stipends. 

NBPC was not formed for the benefit of 
Black filmmakers but, rather, as a service to 
the Black viewing audience and to the public 
at large. Nevertheless, to ignore — or even ap- 
pear to ignore — the voices and visions of the 
ever-growing group of Black independents 
would be a grave error. As the foremost 
representative of the Black public television 
community, NBPC cannot and should not 
allow itself to move too far from home base. 
For whatever reasons, its outreach to the 
Black independent film community has been in- 
sufficient and must be increased. From the other 
side, NBPC's admirable and necessary objec- 
tives need the dedicated, committed input and 
support of the entire media community. As 
always, in unity lies the key. — Daresha Ullah 



NSYCAnomics 

As we go to press, hundreds of New York 
media artists and organizations are com- 
pleting applications for the March 1 New 
York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) 
deadline. But this year the applications may 
be considered under a greatly changed struc- 
ture. The message has been sent down from 
Albany: trim the fat from the agency. But 
will a slimmed-down funder also mean a 
radically different and less responsive one? 

During the past decade the number of 
applicants to NYSCA has grown by 50%, al- 
though its annual budget has shrunk from 
$34 million to $32 million and its staff has 
been reduced from 107 to 80. The Council 
has responded to the most recent budget 
mandate with two controversial streamlining 
measures: first, to combine the fiscal and ar- 
tistic review functions of the program siaff, 
and second, to offer multi-year funding to 
arts organizations with annual budgets of 
$500,000 and over. 

Currently, New York arts groups are fund- 
ed by discipline on a year-by-year basis. Each 
application is reviewed by one program offi- 
cer for aesthetic concerns and another for fis- 
cal performance. Under the new plan, the ap- 
plication reviews will be conducted by one 



There's Always a First Times 

CPB Bargains with Indies 



In an unprecedented move, the Cor- 
poration for Public Broadcasting has 
begun negotiations with a group of in- 
dependent producer representatives in an 
effort to head off a potentially damaging 
confrontation on Capitol Hill this spring. 
After a five-hour bargaining session in 
Washington, DC on February 13, CPB 
agreed to recognize the 18-person ad hoc 
group as the Independent Producer Ad- 
visory Board to CPB (IPAB), to negotiate 
directly with IPAB on matters of long- 
standing dispute within 30 days and to 
develop a mechanism to help independents 
shape public TV policy in the future. 

IPAB presented CPB representatives 
with four major demands: 

1) a new definition of independent produc- 
tion which mandates that final editorial 
control rest with the independent pro- 
ducer; 

2) the establishment of a set-aside of CPB 
funds clearly and specifically marked for 
independent production; 

3) more consistent use of peer panels in the 
funding process; 

4) strengthening of minority participation 
and programming in the entire public TV 
system. 

For the last year, AIVF and other or- 



ganizations have been trying to develop a 
coherent lobbying strategy in the face of 
the approaching Congressional CPB 
reauthorization hearings and in response 
to what many view as an increasing exclu- 
sion from CPB funding opportunities (e.g. 
the cancelling of Crisis to Crisis, Non- 
Fiction Television and Matters of Life and 
Death in favor of large station productions 
such as Frontline). After informal discus- 
sions with AIVF, CPB agreed to meet with 
various producers' organizations and flew 
their representatives to Washington for the 
February meeting. (It's likely that the 
haunting spectre of the reauthorization 
hearings combined with the recent embar- 
rassing fiscal crisis at National Public 
Radio encouraged CPB to look upon an 
alliance with independents more eagerly 
than ever before. Last September, in a let- 
ter to CPB Board Chair Sharon Rocke- 
feller which stressed these two factors, 
AIVF head Lawrence Sapadin urged CPB 
to align with independents and approach 
Congress with "a common vision for the 
'80s.") It was this group which, once in 
Washington, developed the four-point list 
of demands and constituted itself as 
IPAB. Among its members are represen- 
tatives of the Native American Public 



Broadcasting Consortium, the West Coast 
Coalition (representing independents in 
California, Washington and Oregon — see 
"West Indies," The Independent, March 
1984), IMAGE Film/Video Center (Atlan- 
ta), Black Filmmaker Foundation, Boston 
Film/Video Foundation, Asian CineVi- 
sion, SWAMP and Visual Communica- 
tions (LA). Sapadin was designated its 
main spokesperson and negotiator. 

Sapadin stressed that one of the largest 
achievements of the February meeting was 
the degree of unity achieved by the IPAB 
member organizations. "Initially, I think 
that CPB expected, and even hoped, that 
we'd come to the meeting with separate, 
and perhaps contradictory, lists of 
demands," he said. "They were un- 
prepared for our unanimity. That such a 
diverse group of independents was able to 
reach such a solid consensus in so short a 
time bodes well for the future of the 
field." 

Following the CPB meeting, a dozen in- 
dependents met with Congressional staff 
aides involved with the public TV issue. 
They expressed a strong interest in seeing 
independents and CPB resolve their dif- 
ferences outside the legislative process, 
and offered to attend the next CPB-IPAB 
meeting as either observers or mediators. 
At presstime, the date of that next meeting 
had not been finalized. 

— Susan Linfield 



APRIL 1984 



staffperson only, who will ostensibly be 
equally versed in both fiscal and artistic mat- 
ters. 

Barbara Haspiel, deputy director of Com- 
munication Arts, who oversees film and 
media programs at the Council, believes that 
dual reviews entail a lot of overlap. But some 
NYSCA program staff and members of the 
film/video community fear that many of the 
smaller groups with strong artistic merit but 
weak financial structures may suffer from the 
loss of the fiscal officers' personalized atten- 
tion, fundraising and financial management, 
and assurances to the review panels that 
organizational problems can be ameliorated. 
(For example, as the administrative director 
of Asian CineVision during the years it 
developed from a minority community group 
into a national media arts center, I counted 
on staff from the arts agencies for consulta- 
tion on both fiscal and managerial matters.) 

Haspiel anticipates that the multi-year 
funding plan, which will allow some of the 
larger institutions to apply biannually, will 
alleviate some of NYSCA's workload and 
allow staff to devote more time to developing 
groups. Under the plan approved by the 
Council last fall, those groups qualified for 
multi-year consideration would be handled 
by a separate administrative staff, although 
their project applications will still be re- 
viewed by discipline panels. For example, the 
Museum of Modern Art's film exhibition re- 
quests would still be decided by the film 
panel. 

There is understandable suspicion on the 
part of smaller organizations that any sep- 
arate policy for large institutions will inevit- 
ably become an unequal policy as well. 
However, according to Joseph Wells, 
NYSCA's director of public information, 
there will not be a separate budget category 
for the multi-year institutions. When asked 
how budget cuts would be handled, Wells 
replied, "Nothing is ever carved in stone in 
government arts funding. This year we decid- 
ed to tilt in favor of small and medium-sized 
organizations at the expense of large 
organizations. I can't look into my crystal 
ball and tell you which way the council will 
go." Haspiel and Wells indicate that the 
council is considering the possibility of ex- 
panding the multi-year program to include 
organizations with budgets under $500,000. 
But, beyond the bottom line, some small 
groups are also afraid that the separate fund- 
ing of larger institutions will hurt unified ad- 
vocacy efforts among arts groups. 

Nothing in government funding is ever 
carved in stone, but some advocates of the 
smaller (which often means alternative) arts 
groups have not forgotten the battle to shape 
NYSCA's priorities in its first years. Some 
sectors of the state's art establishment saw 
the infant agency as a way to funnel state 
dollars to large established cultural institu- 
tions; new, alternative and minority organiz- 
ations were included only as a result of strong 
lobbying efforts, and have retained a share in 
the funding pie because of constant vigilance. 
APRIL 1984 



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In the present case, longtime advocates of 
alternative arts organizations such as Haspiel 
do not see the new multi-year funding and 
staff-merging plans as precursors of future 
structural changes from above. But the arts 
community will be watching. — Renee Tajima 

Film & Video Fellowships 
Go from CAPS to NYFA 

The long battle between the Creative Art- 
ists Program Service (CAPS) and the New 
York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has 
reached a climax with the Council's recent 
decision to transfer over half of CAPS' func- 
tions to another administrator. Film and 
video will be among the categories trans- 
ferred to the jurisdiction of the New York 
Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), an 
organization which currently provides loans 
to arts groups and runs an artists-in-the- 
schools program. 

CAPS was created by NYSCA in 1970 as 
an independent organization to channel 
money directly to individual artists. Since 
then its fellowships have been highly sought- 
after, no-strings-attached grants (with the ex- 
ception of a public service), which are made 
on a one-time-only basis to artists. 

But for the past few years CAPS and 
NYSCA have been at odds. In 1982 the 
Council, unhappy with CAPS' 38% adminis- 
trative costs, imposed a 20% ceiling on 
overhead. CAPS responded by reorganizaing 
its funding cycles to an alternative-year plan, 
with six disciplines funded one year, and 
another six the next. 

Last year, in an unprecedented move, the 
Council solicited competitive proposals for 
the CAPS fellowship program. NYFA was 
awarded a contract to administer eight of the 
CAPS disciplines in addition to a new 
"crafts" catgory. On the surface, NYFA's 
fellowship plans do not differ markedly from 
the CAPS system, except that winning artists 
may be allowed to reapply after a certain 
period of time. Applicants in each category 
will be judged by a peer review panel which 
will tender its recommendation to a fellow- 
ship governing board. NYFA executive di- 
rector Ted Berger indicated that the panels 
will be composed primarily (although not 
necessarily exclusively, as was the case with 
CAPS) of artists. Dollarwise, NYFA must 
operate under the same 20% administrative 
ceiling. 

As the dust settles, the real question 
emerges: How will artists be affected by the 
changes? The only standard by which to mea- 
sure NYFA's plans is CAPS itself. CAPS' art- 
ists-judging-artists and no-strings policies are 
held in high esteem by its constituents, and 
NYFA has indicated it plans to follow suit. 
NYFA will be an important organization to 
watch during the coming months as it organizes 
its governing board and formulates key policies 
for the fellowship program. — RTM 

CAPSIZED — Just as we went to press, The Independent 
learned that CAPS is folding. NYFA wilt now 
administer all the fellowships. 



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Tips from Abroad 



TONI TREADWAY & BOB BRODSKY 

Mercredi 9 Novembre, Bruxelles. "Tell them 
S-8 is not dead. All the stores are saying it's 
done. It's terrible," lamented Brussels Inter- 
national Super-8 Festival director Robert 
Malengreau to us before our workshop. 
Betamovie was arriving that week in Brussels 
amidst much hoopla, and although the candid 
verdict of store personnel at week's end was 
that video still cannot compete With S-8 on 
grounds of cost, image quality, accessibility 
and portability, terror was in the air, again. 

There was no ground for it, particularly in 
view of some of the exciting S-8 work projected 
on the large screen at Centre Culturel Jacques 
Franck. Filmmakers from 37 countries pre- 
sented programs, but English speakers will be 
particularly interested in the Australian and 
British programs and in the market French 
television has opened up for American S-8 
filmmakers. 

Armand Ventre of Antenne 2 (France) was 
on the prowl at Brussels, looking for work to 
broadcast on his half-hour weekly show, "La 
Television des Telespectateurs" ("The 
Viewers' TV"), which has a French viewership 
of several million. He requires that films be 
two to 20 minutes long with a single soundtrack 
that can be appreciated by non-English 
speakers . Both 1 8 and 24 frames per second are 
acceptable. 

EXOTIC LOVE 

The French love of exotic visuals led Ventre 
to one of the films we had brought with us, 
David Fortney 's Higher Ground, a simple love 
story (no dialogue) with spectacular visuals 
and sensational camera tracking. It could un- 
doubtedly play very well to audiences 
anywhere; every image emerges out of the 
preceding one (without benefit of lap dis- 
solves). 

Armand Ventre prefers fiction and anima- 
tion . He will accept a S-8 print but prefers work 
from the original. He will accept l A " 
videocassette only if it is already in the French 
TV standard, SECAM. 

The contract that French TV is offering 
allows the broadcast of your film, entirely or in 
part, nationally and internationally, for an 
unlimited number of airings. For this privilege, 
French TV is paying $25 per minute (200FF) 
for experimental and live action work and 
about $32 per minute for animation. Films 
should be sent airmail ("without commercial 
value") registered with a return receipt re- 
quested to Antenne 2 La Television des 



Telespectateurs, 5-7 rue de Monttessuy, 75007 
Paris, France. 

If your film is not selected for screening, it 
will be returned within one month of review. If 
selected, it will be returned within one month 
of the program's airdate (which may be 
awhile). Reports from European participants 
tell us that Ventre responds promptly both in 
the return of films and in payments; however, 
one Latin American filmmaker has been wait- 
ing 18 months for both. We suggest that you 
state the above terms clearly in any com- 
munications you make with Ventre. 




Mark Titmarsh, Australia: "The attraction of S-8 is its 
lean economics and veritable lack of history." 

FILMS FROM AFAR 

Media arts and museum programmers 
should consider booking two programs that 
were presented at the Brussels S-8 festival: one 
of films by various Australian filmmakers in- 
cluding Mark Titmarsh, the other of works by 
animator Lewis Cooper of Britain. Both could 
travel very well among North American au- 
diences who are generally unreceptive to S-8 
work, and we would be glad to help interested 
programers in scheduling and teching a screen- 
ing in their cities. 

Titmarsh arrived in Brussels looked fresh as 
an urban daisy after 38 hours in an airplane on 
a ticket from the Australian Film Commission. 
He carried with him the works of 12 other 
Australians as well as his own for screenings in 
Berlin and Venice after Brussels. Unable to see 
all 16 films in Titmarsh 's program because of 
the disintegration of the Brussels screening 
schedule, we nevertheless saw enough to know 

APRIL 1984 



of the program's interest to art audiences. The 
films range from a tribute to film noir to 
computer-aided personalisms. In the published 
program notes, Titmarsh writes, "The uprising 
of S-8 coincided with the virtual shutdown of 
the experimental imperative in 16mm film- 
making. Due to the phenomenal rise in stock 
and laboratory costs in the larger gauge only 
the already established, the auteur, has been 
able to continue. Consequently much of the 
energy and potential of 16mm has been in- 
herited by S-8— though not unchanged. S-8 
has had an irresistible effect on predetermined 
notions of film theory and practice, due par- 
ticularly to the smaller gauge's characteristics 
of single system sound and extreme mobility 

Many Australian S-8 filmmakers have 

broad visual arts backgrounds or are actively 
involved in other art practices. For these peo- 
ple the attraction of S-8 is its lean economics 
and its veritable lack of history. With no visible 
historical landmarks guiding or determining 
S-8 practice, it proceeds by energetic self- 
definition which tends in turn to an expansive 
inclusiveness." 

POIGNANT & POLITE 

As outrageous as the Australian vision and 
practice of S-8 is, so poignant and polite is the 
British vision presented by Lewis Cooper. But 
Cooper's attention to detail in his clay anima- 
tions is outrageous in other ways. There is 
nothing like Lewis Cooper on this side of the 
Atlantic. The international audiences in 
Brussels responded time and again with teary- 
eyed standing ovations to screenings of his 
films, and the festival presented him with a 
special commendation. His film The Life and 
Death of Joe Soap, which follows its character 
from infant to lover to rejected war cripple, is a 
stinging commentary on the social response to 
heroism. In another work, Bonzo 's Last Trick, 
an old magician trapped in a dying theater 
turns his moment of deepest despair to create 
(presto!) love, life and a new awakening. 

Mark Titmarsh can be reached through 
Super-8 Film Group, 64a Wigram Road, 
Glebe. N.S.W. 2037, Australia. Telephone 
(02) 660 3003 for Titmarsh, (02) 356 4392 for 
Virginia Hilyard. Lewis Cooper can be reached 
at 18 Lovendean Lane, Lovendean Heights, 
Portsmouth, P08 8HG England. 

It is now possible to put together S-8 pro- 
grams from many non-English-speaking film- 
makers. Spanish programs should be on the 
road, and there are African programs (both 
North and sub-Saharan) that are different 
from the larger format work that is now well- 
known to American audiences. We hope that 
opportunities will be seized for screening these 
works so that audiences will grow. What have 
you seen of S-8 from the East? We'd like to 
hear from you and see more work. No monster 
movies, please. ■ 

Bob Brodsky & Toni Treadway are the 
authors of Super 8 in the Video Age, which was 
recently translated into Spanish. Treadway 
serves as a board member of the Boston Film/ 
Video Foundation. 



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APRIL 1904 



THE INDEPENDENT 



IN FOCUS 



Time for a Light Story: 
Color Timing Lab Literacy 



DAVID LEITNER 

Pop quiz: What's the meaning of a 25-32-29 

timing light? 

Time's up! Puzzled filmmakers, read on. 

Open the can or box containing color 
negative dailies printed by any major film lab, 
and inside you'll discover a list of timing light 
numbers like the one above. Put off screening 
the dailies momentarily and reach for this list, 
for each timing light has a story to tell. The 
plot revolves around exposure indices, foot- 
candles, filter factors, and color tem- 
peratures — and the outcome is never certain. 

As you might recall from previous In Focus 
columns on color negative, a color negative 
emulsion is a layered stack of three silver 
halide emulsions. One each is sensitized to on- 
ly red, green, or blue. In developing, a silver 
image is formed, then "bleached" from each 
emulsion, leaving in its stead a colored stain. 

Each of the resulting dye layers functions as 
a record of the level of red, green, or blue ex- 
posure bestowed upon the color negative. If 
one could somehow attach a meter to each 
layer and take a reading, it would be evident 
which, if any, were overexposed or underex- 
posed. No such meter exists, but the readings 
do: that's what timing lights are. Read on. 

Two exposures are required to produce a 
positive image for projection. The filmmaker 
determines the first exposure by setting the 
iris of the lens. By striking a print from the 
developed negative, the laboratory makes a 
second exposure. While the filmmaker's ex- 
posure can range within the broad latitude of 
color negative, the laboratory's must be 
precise. 

Consider, for example, an average close-up 
shot of a face. Maybe the filmmaker lacked a 
full stop in low light, maybe an 85 filter was 
neglected in daylight, maybe the light source 
was greenish fluorescent: regardless, the 
viewer expects a natural skintone. It falls 
upon the laboratory to adjust its exposures of 
the print to compensate for the shortcomings 
of the original negative. 

Since the end result — in this case, a natural 
skintone of proper brightness — represents a 
constant, the laboratory's exposure must vary 
according to the filmmaker's. If the film- 
maker overexposes, the laboratory is obliged 
to raise its exposure in order to penetrate the 
darker negative. As a result, the laboratory's 
exposures, expressed in timing lights, parallel 
the filmmaker's. 

Before we continue: what, exactly, is a tim- 
ing light? For that matter, what is timing? For 
answers, let's digress for a moment and take a 
10 



journey into the Twilight Zone of the lab 
printing room, 50 years ago. 

DEPRESSION STOCK SOUP 

1934. Although 35mm is the standard 
gauge, standardization in printing machines 
and techniques doesn't exist. The laboratory 
we're visiting uses a Bell & Howell Model D 
continuous contact printer. Like modern con- 
tact printers, the negative and the positive raw 
stocks are wrapped in tight contact around a 
big sprocket that rotates over a rectangular 
aperture of light. A lamp behind the aperture 
exposes the raw stock. 

The sprocket turns at a constant rate, and 
the lamp burns at a constant voltage (its color 
temperature is not critical; 35mm color is 15 
years away). Only by varying the height of the 
rectangular aperture, and therefore the area 
that can pass light, are changes in exposure 
possible. This printer features a big dial with 
21 positions for setting aperture size. Six of 
these "printer points" are equivalent to a stop 
of light (no matter from which end of the dial, 
since the scale is logarithmic). 

A breathless messenger bearing 1000- foot 
cans of exposed negative arrives from the 
studio. The contents go directly into the soup. 
Upon developing, a "one-light" daily is 
struck. The printer's mid-scale position, a 
"number 11 light," is used to print all of the 
dailies. Since the studio works with a fixed 




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". . .blizzard scene? Timer must be wearing his 
shades again." 



amount of lighting, the exposures are fairly 
consistent, and everyone's content with this 
arrangement. 

Sometimes, however, a difficult day-for- 
night scene will require a special printing 
light. This calls for the Cinex (pronounced 
"sign-x") Timer. The Cinex Timer is a device 
that makes test exposures. The operator 
removes a 21 -frame length of developed 
negative, places it in contact with a similar 
length of unexposed positive, and cranks it 
through. The Cinex Timer gives every other 
frame a timed exposure that matches the cor- 
responding Bell & Howell printer point. 
Frames one, three, five, etc. are printed at a 
one-light, a three-light, a five-light, and so 
on. The Cinex strip, when developed, appears 
light on one end and dark on the other. These 
test exposures, a one-third stop apart, suffice 
to tell the printing machine operator at which 
printer position, or "timing light," to print 
the scene. 

The operator of the Cinex Timer, not sur- 
prisingly, is known as "the timer." He or she 
has plenty to do. Some cinematographers at 
the studio want a Cinex strip with each daily. 
They like to compare the one-light to other 
possible timings. Then, after a film is edited 
and the negative roles conformed, Cinexes are 
used to indicate the timing lights needed for 
close scene-to-scene matching of print den- 
sities. This saves costly answer printing. 

1984. Standardization through attrition. 
Not many companies make laboratory print- 
ing machines these days, and those that do 
utilize some version of the Bell & Howell ad- 
ditive color lamphouse of 1961. Its scale of 50 
printer points — 12 to a stop of light — has 
become the de facto industrial standard. 

TRICOLOR TROUBLE 

The Bell & Howell color lamphouse 
separates the spectrum of a single tungsten 
halogen bulb into three channels of red, 
green, and blue light. As it happens, a 
variable aperture at the printing sprocket 
would fail to regulate these beams individual- 
ly, so placed inside the lamphouse are 
miniature paired barndoors that interrupt the 
light path of each color. In the bat of an 
eyelash, these "light valves" swing apart or 
shut down to one of 50 printer point posi- 
tions. Thus measured out, the red, green, and 
blue beams are rechannelled into a single 
composite printing light at the printer's fixed- 
size aperture. 

Remember that, unlike his/her 1934 count- 
erpart, today's filmmaker shooting color 
negative exposes not one emulsion, but three. 
The ability to mix 50 printer points of red, 
green, and blue light in increments as fine as 
one-twelfth of a stop provides the laboratory 
with the range and precision to rectify each of 

APRIL 1984 




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Robert Elfstrom 
What's extraordinary 
about this hand-built, 
state-of-the-art 16MM 
camera is what it adds to 
your artistic and profes- 
sional capabilities. And 
that the Aaton LTR also 
gives you Super 16MM. 

"AATON BECOMES PART 

OF YOUR BODY, PART OF 

YOUR VISION." 

Haskell Wexler 
Aaton s perfect balance 
lightness, and maneuver- 
ability, the way it drapes 
effortlessly over the 
shoulder makes it the 
first camera designed from 
your P.OV. 

The LTR viewing 
screen is the biggest and 
brightest because Aaton 
developed a special con- 
cave fiber optic device to 
make it that way. Aaton's 
rock steady registration, 
back focus stability 
(to within 5 microns) and 
vertical accuracy (to 
1 /2000th of a frame) cap- 
ture all that sharpness on 
film. Aaton features a 
6 to 54 fps variable frame 



rate and an optional built- 
in video tap. 

"MY AATON IS SO QUIET, 

I CAN SHOOT IN A 

CONFESSION BOOTH." 

Albert Maysles 
With its brushless 
motor, gear drive power 
transmission and patented 
posi-claw movement, the 
LTR is quiet by design. 
The rigid internal chassis 
isolates and dampens 
shock, and the film trans- 
port is vibration-free. 

"I'VE TAKEN MY AATON 

FROM THE JUNGLES OF 

PERU TO THE ARCTIC AND 

NEVER HAD A PROBLEM." 

Pierre de Lespinols 
Aatons have logged 
millions of film and land 
miles. And they've been 
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dunked in oceans, buried 
in deserts— and worked. 
That's because the mech- 
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And because its modular 
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"IT'S AMAZING HOW WELL 

SUPER 16MM COMPARES 

WITH 35MM." 

American Cinematographer 
People like Robert 
Altman, Haskell Wexler, 
Ed Lachman and Robert 
Elfstrom shot features 
and documentaries with 
Aaton because Super 16 
makes good sense. So if 
you have to choose one 
camera, it makes sense to 
choose the one that's two. 
Aaton LTR. 
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AATON CTR SAVED MY LIFE." 
Tom sigel 
The Clear Time 
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the filmmaker's exposures. After all, how 
many trouble themselves with tri-color 
meters? 

The eye can easily discern the finest scene- 
to-scene mismatches in hue (a source of 
frustration, which the black-and-white 
cinematographer, Cinex strip in hand, never 
encountered). With the myriad complications 
of mixed light sources, sunlight/skylight ra- 
tions, lens coloration, filter manufacturing 
tolerances (need I continue?), perhaps only an 
in-camera tri-color meter located behind the 
lens and center-weighted for spot-metering 
would prove adequate to the task of color 
balancing the negative during exposure. Even 
if such a device were possible, it couldn't 
register real-world variations in batches of 
raw stock or laboratory processing. That's 
why one-light dailies are an anachronism. 

Printing color dailies on the mid-scale red- 
green-blue light of 25-25-25 demonstrates 
either a nostalgia for past practice or a pen- 
chant for adversity. Given the latitude of col- 
or negative, it's not necessary; considering the 
effort and expense required to regiment all 
lighting set-ups to a mere printing light, it's 
just not practical — especially on a modest 
budget. 

NEW TIMING LITERACY 

Furthermore, for the up-to-date film 
laboratory with video color analysis and com- 
puterized frame-count cueing, it takes just as 
much time to "time" each scene as it does to 
spool the length of the camera negative, in- 
spect each exposure, and assign a single 
average printing light, mid-scale or otherwise. 

A timed color daily combines the chief ad- 
vantages of a Cinex strip and a tri-color 
meter. Although you don't get an exposure 
strip with each scene — 25' steps (every other 
printing light, three colors) would require a 
reel of its own — you do get a chance to 
evaluate best image quality regardless of how 
the negative was exposed. This eliminates the 
guesswork of deciding what's usable, saves 
the cinematographer potential embarrass- 
ment in front of producers and crew, and 
makes for an even workprint. 

Anyway, the timing lights, listed scene by 
scene, tell the full story. They reveal exactly 
how the red, green, and blue emulsions were 
exposed. To learn to "read" them is an in- 
valuable critical skill that puts you in touch 
with a wealth of exposure feedback; however, 
you must know the following: 
/) Six to seven printer points equals your 
f/stop. In an absolute sense, an increase of 12 
printer points does equal a doubling of light, 
but color negative with an overall gamma near 
.5 produces only half as much density per stop 
of exposure. Each time you open your lens 
one stop, the timing lights will climb only six 
points. Screen contrast is restored by the 
print, which, with a gamma well over 2.0, in- 
verts and stretches out the negative's com- 
pressed tonal range. 

2) As you've noticed, timing lights rise with an 
increase in exposure to the negative. More ex- 



posure creates a darker negative; the light 
valves have to open wider to provide adequate 
illumination to the unexposed print stock. 
And vice versa. With a decrease in exposure to 
the negative the timing lights fall. 

3) The most significant exposure is that of the 
green layer, which records the band of the 
spectrum to which our vision is most acute. It 
represents 60-70% of the total detail in an im- 
age. The blue layer, at the other extreme, is 
almost inconsequential: it tints the image 
without adding strong detail. To evaluate 
overall exposure level, focus on the green tim- 
ing light, discount the others. 

4) Most labs adhere to a 25-25-25 "normal." 
That is, if one took the perfect meter reading 
of an 18% gray card at the recommended ex- 
posure index and exposed perfectly, and the 
lab's processing were likewise on the mark, a 
25-25-25 timing light would reproduce at 
proper brightness a perfect neutral gray on 
the screen. Like all ideals, real life doesn't of- 
fer many instances of 25-25-25 light. It's a 
useful touchstone, though, by which to gauge 
relative under- and overexposure. 

5) Timing lights are meaningful only insofar 
as the screen image appears pleasing. If your 
dailies come back from the lab cobalt green, 
the timing lights that are responsible aren't 
valid. It's also important that your screen 
matches the A. N.S.I, standard for brightness: 
16-18 foot-lamberts with no film in the gate. 
You can easily measure this with a spot-meter 
calibrated in foot-lamberts. Otherwise, you 
and the laboratory (check their screen 
brightness, too!) are not going to see eye to 
eye on the subject of what appears pleasing. 

At this point, you should be able to answer 
that a 25-32-29 timing light is quite nice, since 
the green light is a stop heavy, which makes 
light-craving negative very happy . ■ 

David Leitner is an independent producer 
who works at DuArt Film Labs in NY. 



A TITLE IS A TITLE ISA. . . 

In the Oct. '83 issue we reported on film 
subtitling, and gave comparative prices for 
three American companies. We have recent- 
ly learned that you can cut your costs by 
more than 50% if you are willing to send 
your job to Europe. 

According to one reliable source, the 
"best in Europe" is Film Titles (also known 
as Color Film Center), Leeghwaterstraat 5, 
The Hague, The Netherlands. They can 
reportedly subtitle your first 16mm print for 
approximately $1,000, with each additional 
print costing about $350. The "cheapest in 
Europe" (with some loss in quality) is 
Grafilme, Rua de S. Jose 203-2", 1200 
Lisbon, Portugal; tel: 54 31 52/54 30 98, 
Attn: Sr. Sobral. Recommended translator: 
Ana Freitash. We were told they can do your 
first print for the incredible price of $500. 
You may even save enough by going there 
and supervising the job yourself! Two other 
companies recommended in Lisbon are 
Matra Films and Ulisseia Films. No ad- 
dresses available. 



12 



APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



AH Dressed Up & 
No Place to Show 



At the international INPUT conference, TV programmers 

trade ideas about innovative programming, 

but they can't always put those ideas into the schedule. 

WANDA BERSHEN 



The "global village" — at least the one 
where everyone was supposed to get equal 
time — doesn't seem to be happening. Amer- 
ican commercial TV's domination of the 
world market with shows like Dallas, Kojak 
and / Love Lucy results in a distinctly im- 
poverished view of America abroad. Mean- 
while the paucity of programming from other 
countries available here may go down in 
history as a prime example of splendid (me- 
dia) isolation at its most foolhardy. 

In 1973, concern about this imbalance led 
to a Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored meet- 
ing of American and foreign public television 
personnel on the "International Exchange of 
Cultural Programming." Those discussions 
resulted, in 1978, in the establishment of 
INPUT — an annual week-long conference 
devoted to the viewing and discussion of some 
70 to 80 hours of programming (about 75% 
by non-Americans) by public television pro- 
ducers and programmers from around the 
globe. While distinctly not a market, 
INPUT'S purpose is to improve the opportun- 
ities for international program exchange and 
to "increase the understanding of the impact 
of television programs on the people of all 
places." With these purposes in mind, the 
organizers seek the most innovative and pro- 
vocative programs for the conference's 
screenings and discussions. 

Unfortunately, these kinds of foreign pro- 
grams rarely make it into either the local or 
national PBS schedule. The enthusiasm of 
American programmers for the programs 
they see at INPUT doesn't translate into ac- 
tion at home. Consider two programs pro- 
duced by NDR of Hamburg, shown at IN- 
PUT in 1982 and 1983 respectively. Twilight, 
by the Dutch theater group Het Werkteater, 
originated as a stage piece drawn in part from 
interviews with the residents of an old 
people's home. The videotaped version is 
carefully conceived for television as a medium 
with its own characteristics; the result is a 
spare, scripted dramatic narrative performed 
with virtually no props, costumes or set decor 
in one 63-minute camera take. A very dif- 
ferent piece, The Axe of Wandsbek, intercuts 
documentary sections in color with highly 
stylized dramatic sequences in black and 
APRIL 1984 



white to tell the story of a 1938 Communist 
uprising in Hamburg whose leaders were ex- 
ecuted by Nazi sympathizers. Woven 
throughout are explorations of the town's 
social history, while the program addresses 
questions of reality and truth in both form 
and content. 

VIEWER COMFORT OR 
OTHER VISIONS? 

It isn't surprising that programs like these 
have a rough time getting past American pro- 
grammers. They are quite complex in formal 
design, slowly paced, focused investigations 
of social history and personal responsibility 
hardly designed for viewer comfort. This 
combination of stylistic approach and pro- 
gram topic is not common on any kind of 
American TV, including PBS, whose pro- 
gramming is largely conventional. This seems, 
however, to be a systemic (and not unpredic- 
table) failing, given the problematic structure 
and wholly inadequate funding of the entire 
public broadcasting system, as detailed in the 
Carnegie Commission's 1979 "A Public 
Trust." 

The report remarks on the universal dif- 
ficulty of developing controversial or in- 
novative programming in a system with "so 
many different and sometimes conflicting 
decision makers." It also observes how 
reliance upon underwriters, particularly for 
new program development, "reduces the 
system's discretion" as to what gets made. "A 
Public Trust" further acknowledges public 
TV's structural inability to take many pro- 
gramming risks, risks it describes as "ab- 
solutely vital for creative 
programming" — and risks which the BBC 
and other European systems have explored in 
considerably greater degree over several 
decades. 

Attendance at INPUT encourages a con- 
sideration of the differences in programming 
options, histories and purposes. One gets a 
tantalizing glimpse of what things might be 
like were an American cultural policy to offer 
serious support to a broadcasting system 
which could afford to be "public" in a man- 
ner familiar on the European systems. 




LA CK OF COMMERCIAL 
CONTEXT A PLUS 

Public broadcastings systems in France, 
Germany, England, Italy, Holland and 
Sweden have been supported at far higher per 
capita dollar amounts than Americans have 
ever dreamed of, through a combination of 
government allocations and license fees to the 
public. They have thus been free from the 
pressure of advertising and ratings. Of equal 
importance, these systems, unlike ours, have 
been able to devise programming and policy 
without having to compete against a massive 
and thoroughly entrenched commercial in- 
dustry. This has allowed them to at least 
aspire to be genuinely educational — an enter- 
prise which should be defined by its success in 
stretching audience expectations and knowl- 
edge. Despite the clear differences in our 
media environment, it is hard to imagine that 
American audiences require such thorough 
protection from the unfamiliar as many TV 
programmers would have us believe. 

Discussions at INPUT often generate sharp 
differences, and the conference has always 
been structured to maximize participants' en- 
counters with new ideas and new people. Now 
in its sixth year, INPUT is run by an 
18-member international board of public TV 
professionals, presently including one CPB 
and four American station representatives. 
From 1978-82, programming was chosen by 
one European (Sergio Borelli of Italian RAI) 
and one American (Barbara van Dyke). For 
1983 and 1984 that procedure has been changed, 
although the charge to program provocative 
and innovative material has not. Program 
submissions are now pre-screened by each 
country's board representative; then the en- 
tire group of people who will act as discussion 
leaders during the conference choose the final 
selections. This year American pre-selection 
was done by Joyce Campbell (WETA-TV, 
Washington DC), Michael Mears (WCCB- 
TV, Maine) and Jennifer Lawson (CPB, 
Washington DC). Both now and in the past. 

Above photo: 

Joe Chaikin performs in Tongues, which was produc- 
ed at the Women's Interart Center and was shown at 
INPUT. The Center later brought a selection ot INPUT 
programs to New York lor a symposium 

13 



THE INDEPENDENT 



programs made by American independents 
have represented a good 30% of the average 
20 of American programming. (In 1984 there 
will be five independent programs out of 16 
ones). INPUT also offers special sessions on 
current topics; last year the British and 
French Fourth Channels spoke about their 
new roles. 

The conference alternates each year be- 
tween an American and a European site. In 
1984, there will be about 400 delegates; pro- 
ducers whose work is being shown are eligible 
for subsidies to attend, and each public TV 
station may choose to send additional 
delegates. Observers are welcome, and both 
media center directors and other interested 
parties have come, sometimes for a partial 
visit of two or three days. The Rockefeller 
Foundation contributes $50-60,000 an- 
nually for travel subsidies, while the actual 
costs of the conference are covered by 
member organizations. For the first time this 
year, CPB offered 30 stipends to encourage 
the attendance of more women and minorities 
(largely from within the ranks of PTV). In- 
dependents who have supplied programming 
to public TV are also eligible. 




Robert Wilson's Deafman's Glance is the sort of in- 
novative video favored at INPUT discussions. 



Another initiative of the past two years has 
been the soliciting of greatly increased INPUT 
participation by Third World countries. This 
year there will be an increased number of 
African, Asian and Eastern European dele- 
gates. For all these efforts, however, 
American acquistions and broadcasts of pro- 
grams like those screened at INPUT are hard- 
ly ever overwhelming. 



Meanwhile, foreign producers, willing to 
offer their programs at relatively low cost, 
should be able to find an interested segment 
of the American public. There is an audience 
of several million people here which in fact 
supports a very respectable non-profit exhibi- 
tion circuit throughout the country. Pro- 
grams of unusual film, video and television 
work, often with accompanying speakers, are 
regularly scheduled by arts, cultural, educa- 
tional and special interest groups concerned with 
the environment, health care and other issues 
hardly confined to national boundaries. 

Many of us in the independent media com- 
munity would like to see more such innovative 
programming in different parts of the coun- 
try. Although media centers can't deliver au- 
diences in the millions, as public TV might, 
we can participate with media-producing col- 
leagues from abroad in productive cultural 
exchanges. These might, in fact, prepare the 
ground for an enlightened public awareness 
of the many visions, very different from our 
own, which the citizenry of a true "global 
village" must be able to see and hear. ■ 

Wanda Bershen is the director of the Na- 
tional Alliance of Media Arts Centers. 



UPDATE: SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY 



Theatrical Distribution 
in the South 



// you 're interested in taking your film to theaters 
open to independent work in the South and you 'd like a 
current as well as accurate listing of such, then destroy 
page 27 of your January/February issue of 
THE INDEPENDENT and use the following: 



I 



ALABAMA 

Alabama Filmmakers Co-op 
200 White Street 
Huntsville, AL 35801 



FLORIDA 

Cinema Tec 
2315 Alcazar Ave. 
Coral Gables, FL 33133 

The Grove Cinema 
3199 Grand Ave. 
Cocoanut Grove, FL 33133 

The Manor Cinema 

144 NE 26th St. 

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305 

Edison Theatre 

1533 Hendry 

Fort Myers, FL 33901 

Tampa Theatre 
Attn: Diane Howe Eberly 
P0 Box 3312 
Tampa, FL 33601 



GEORGIA 

High Museum of Art 
2800 Peachtree St. 
Atlanta, GA 30309 

IMAGE 

972 Peachtree St. Suite 213 

Atlanta, GA 30309 

La Fonte Ansley Cinema 
(formerly Film Forum) 
Ansley Mall 
Atlanta, GA 30324 

Rhodes Theater 

11 A.S. Rhode Center, NW 

Atlanta, GA 30309 

The Screening Room and 
Broadview Plaza Center 
Piedmont Rd. 
Atlanta, GA 30324 

KENTUCKY 

Appalshop, Inc. 

Box 743 

Whitesburg, KY 41858 



LOUISIANA 

Contemporary Arts Center 

900 Camp Street 

New Orleans, LA 70130 

Film Buffs Institute 
Loyala University 
6363 St. Charles Ave. 
New Orleans, LA 70118 

Prytania Theatre 
5339 Prytania St. 
New Orleans, LA 70115 



NORTH CAROLINA & 
SOUTH CAROLINA 

Carolina Theatre 
P0 Box 57 
Durham, NC 27702 

Janus Theatres, Inc. 
1416 Northwood St. 
Greensboro, NC 27408 

Nickoledeon/Columbia Film 
Society 
937 Main St. 
Columbia, SC 29201 

Russell House University 

Union 

Attn: Cinematic Arts 

Committee 

P0 Box 85141 

University of South Carolina 

Columbia, SC 29208 



Attn: Sue Metzger 

University Student 

Programs 

Room 418, Administrative 

Bldg. 

Medical University of SC 

171 Ashley Ave. 

Charleston, SC 29425 

Visulite Theater 
1615 Elizabeth Ave. 
Charlotte, NC 28204 



TENNESSEE 

Clarence Brown Theatre 

University of Tennessee 

Theatre 

Box 8450 

University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, TN 39996 

Center for Southern Folklore 
Attn: Judy Peiser 
P0 Box 40105 
Memphis, TN 38104 

Daisy Theater 
329 Beale St. 
Memphis, TN 38103 

Memphian Theatre 
51 South Cooper 
Memphis, TN 38104 

Orpheum Theatre 
89 Beale St. 
Memphis, TN 38103 



Nashville Film Society 
c/o Bill Myers 
2202 Oakland Ave. 
Nashville, TN 37212 



TEXAS 

Greenway Three 

5 Greenway Plaza East 

Houston, TX 77046 

Rice University Media 

Center 

P0 Box 1892 

Houston, TX 77001 

(Mailing) 

River Oaks Classic 
Repertory Theater 
2009 West Gray 
Houston, TX 77019 



VIRGINIA 

Biograph Theater 
814 West Grace 
Richmond, VA 23220 

Vinegar Hill Theatre 
220 West Market St. 
P0 Box 642 
Charlottesville, VA 22901 

Williamsburg Theatre 
P0 Box 248 
Williamsburg, VA 23185 



14 



APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



The Case of the 
Well-Mannered Guest 

Outsiders tend to become insiders when 

studying their subjects closely. An essay on the 

problems this poses for ethnographic filmmakers. 



More and more ethnographic films are be- 
ing made not in foreign places but here in the 
United States. Filmmakers are portraying a 
wide range of subjects from major ethnic 
groups to the most exotic members of the sub- 
cultures within our society. While their topics 
differ, most of these filmmakers are concern- 
ed with the relationship between filmmaker 
and subject. The long hours independents 
spend interacting with their subjects are more 
than a matter of filmmaking technique: for 
most ethnographic filmmakers, capturing the 
nuances of culture and behavior is a matter of 
ethics, part of their responsibility to their sub- 
jects. But that very concern exacts a certain 
intellectual and aesthetic price, paid in the 
finished film. 

Documentary filmmakers did not always 
stress interacting with their subjects. In the 
earlier days of documentary cinema, the film- 
maker's ideal was a detached and exclusively 
observational attitude, expressed by the say- 
ing "fly on the wall." Documentarist Ricky 
Leacock has described how, perfectly still and 
partly hidden behind a couch, he caught John 
F. Kennedy making an important phone call 
for his pioneering 1960 film, Primary. But 



PAULINE SPIEGEL 

things have changed. In 1982 Leacock told an 
audience at the Margaret Mead Anthropo- 
logical Film Festival about his relationship 
with a Christian fundamentalist family he had 
filmed: "When I spoke to them on the phone 
[after I left] they said, 'Ricky, we miss the 
cornbread you used to bake for us.'" The au- 
dience chuckled its approval. 

Often the sense of relationship goes even 
deeper. Tony de Nonno's It's One Family, 
Knock on Wood, deals with a family of 
Sicilian puppeteers living in New York. The 
family builds large, beautifully detailed pup- 
pets, and performs multi-part medieval epics 
with them. The film stresses the continuity 
and cooperation between generations in pre- 
serving a valuable craft tradition. When de 
Nonno speaks of his relationship to the pup- 
peteers, he says, "I felt like a member of the 
family." The same thoughts are echoed by 
many other filmmakers. 
FILMMAKER AS POLITE GUEST 

In many ways, It 's One Family represents a 
generation of such films. They are serious, ef- 
fective and affecting. Yet they are also limited 
in their impact. Watching them, one senses 
that something is missing, that more could be 



said, that they show us less than they could. 
What characterizes many of these films is a 
sense of politeness, of reticence towards their 
subject. It's the politeness of the frequent, 
privileged guest. For Tony de Nonno, as for 
many others, to challenge his subjects would 
have been to betray the intimacy they had 
granted to him as an outsider. 

Yet the position of the filmmaker as stranger 
is key. It sets the terms of the relationship, it 
determines the process of filmmaking, and it 
influences the nature of the finished film. 

It also gives to the filmmaker, as it does to 
the academic anthropologist, the security of a 
well-defined role. And so ethnographic film- 
makers in the United States have chosen sub- 
jects as foreign as possible to the mostly mid- 
dle class, mostly white, mostly urban film- 
maker and audience. Sometimes the subjects 
are unfamiliar because they are geographical- 
ly isolated. For example, David Hancock's 
1971 Chester Grimes follows a farmer who 
lives deep in the New England forest, one of 
the last to log the woods with a horse. Other 
filmmakers concentrate on people who par- 
ticipate in esoteric rituals. The people in 
Karen Kramer's Jolo Serpent Handlers prove 




A participant observer at work. "Ethnographic filmmakers are judged, to a large extent, on the skill with which they become insiders In the society where they work. 
APRIL 1984 15 



THE INDEPENDENT 



their Christian fundamentalist faith by 
holding snakes when they worship. Ethnicity, 
of course, is a great boundary marker, and so 
we have films on Haitian, Russian, Finnish, 
Jewish, even WASP- Americans. 

These subjects are typically an- 
thropological, however, not simply because 
they are exotic. The filmmakers, like an- 
thropologists, choose to work on subjects 
largely in the private domain, where 
strangers, much less strangers burdened with 
filmmaking equipment, may not be welcome. 
The problem for both academic an- 
thropologists and filmmakers is first, how to 
cross these lines of privacy and second, how 
to understand the unfamiliar events which 
confront them in a strange environment. The 
answer to both these questions is a process 
called "participant observation," a kind of 
dedicated, alert hanging-out. The method in- 
volves talking to subjects and observing 
events in the hope of gaining admission to 
more sensitive areas and more intimate (and 
reliable) information. For filmmakers it is 
especially important that subjects feel at ease 
with all the paraphernalia of filming. So 
ethnographic filmmakers, like academic an- 
thropologists, are judged, to a large extent, 
on the skill with which they become insiders in 
the societies where they work. The film- 
maker's claim to be "a member of the family" 
is not only a comfortable fact, it's a claim to 
legitimacy. 



Much of Jolo Serpent Handlers, for exam- 
ple, occurs in the public domain. The church 
service where the worshippers handle snakes 
(and speak in tongues and fall down, slain by 
the spirit) is public. Access is no trick. But 
when one of the handlers is seriously bitten, 
the camera follows his family home, the film- 
maker participating in the family's vigil as it 
waits to see if his faith will keep the handler 
alive. Their tolerance for the camera at such 
an extended, delicate moment is proof of the 
confidence that the people of Jolo had in 
Kramer. She had shown them, Kramer says, 
that she "had her heart in it." They trusted 
that she would not misrepresent them. 

But that trust implies a responsibility, an 
ethical imperative not to betray. The respon- 
sibility is heightened by considerations which 
stem, once again, from the choice of whom to 
film. The filmmakers tend to focus on mar- 
ginal peoples who are relatively powerless and 
voiceless. Ethnographic filmmakers are 
acutely conscious of how much their position 
conforms to colonial power relationships. 

A QUID PRO QUO— PR TRADE-OFF? 

Some filmmakers feel that this responsibili- 
ty can be fulfilled by a kind of contractual 
quid pro quo. George Stoney said in a recent 
issue of Afterimage: "When I go to somebody 
with my camera and microphone and I say, 
'Look, give me your soul,' I've got to be able 



THE ADL WANTS TO DISTRIBUTE 

YOUR FILM, YOUR FILMSTRIP, 

YOUR VIDEOTAPE 



ADL, the world's largest human relations organization 

* 

43 years of successful audio-visual distribution 

* 

Providing materials to school, church, community on 

Prejudice, Discrimination, Intergroup relations, Teaching methods and 
materials, Ethnic and Minority studies, Politics; left, right, middle, The 
Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, Jews and Judaism, Israel, Jewish-Christian 
relations, Soviet Jewry. 



Please contact: Steve Brody 
Anti-Defamation League 
823 United Nations Plaza 
New York, N.Y. 10017 
212 490-2525 




L 



'Anti-Defamation League 
ofB'naiB'rith 



16 



to say 'Look, it's going to help you, not hurt 
you.'" Not all filmmakers are as activist as 
Stoney, who has made a concentrated effort 
to use his films to promote dialogue between 
underrepresented groups and government 
bureaucracy. For the most part, all that's ex- 
pected is a vague public relations benefit. Says 
Karen Kramer, "The people of Jolo wanted 
to see the film done partly because it's their 
religion to spread the gospel, but partly 
because they were upset because they'd been 
misquoted before. They thought that film 
would have to show them the way they were. I 
felt committed to presenting them in a posi- 
tive light." 

What this implies is an agreement, stated or 
unstated, with the subjects to produce a film 
that shows the subjects the way they see them- 
selves. There is some precedent for this in 
academic anthropology. Many anthropo- 
logists have stressed the importance of study- 
ing and recording the subject's own perspec- 
tives, their world views and values, their 
thoughts and feelings. From this point of 
view, the key to understanding what people 
do lies in understanding how they think about 
what they do. And there is a political point in 
allowing people to express their own view- 
points. This approach is reflected in a series of 
recent films which consist primarily of people 
talking about themselves: Pat Ferrero's Quilts 
in Women 's Lives, for example, is construct- 
ed around several women voicing their 
thoughts about quilts and quilting. In an an- 
thropological context rather than an investi- 
gative one, to challenge what people say 
about themselves would be not just impolite 
but pointless. 

A corollary and equally humanitarian con- 
cern is a wish to present the films' subjects as 
"whole people" who live full and coherent 
lives. This is expressed not just in the attitude 
filmmakers take towards their subjects but 
also in the way they construct their films. 
Above all, ethnographic filmmakers aim to 
avoid fragmenting the audience's perception 
of the subject. Carefully sequenced, long run- 
ning, deep focus, wide angle shots are prefer- 
red to montage, which, quite literally, breaks 
up the scene. 

So anthropologists have objected to Trinh 
T. Minh-ha's recent Reassemblage not 
because of the film's outspoken anti- 
anthropological bias, but because the film's 
montage picks the images apart. And because 
it does not reassemble the pieces into anything 
the audience can recognize as a whole, the 
film, it is claimed, fails in its responsibility to 
its human subjects. Thus a stylistic conser- 
vatism is built into the anthropological film- 
maker's sense of ethics. 

Though motivated by the very best of 
reasons, filmmakers have in effect imposed 
upon themselves a series of rules governing 
style as well as content. The responsibilities 
generated by the relationship between film- 
maker and subject imply a set of limitations. 
The implicit contract between the filmmaker 
and the subject leads to self -censorship. Many 

APRIL 1984 



filmmakers simply refuse, on ethical grounds, 
to include anything which may make the sub- 
ject look bad. Some filmmakers rationalize 
the issue of self-censorship by claiming that 
they only work on subjects about which they 
have positive feelings. They claim to have no 
wish or reason to show negative or unflatter- 
ing material. But that choice is in itself a con- 
striction. 

Such films also have a tendency to be intel- 
lectually cautious. When subjects speak en- 
tirely for themselves, the filmmaker speaks 
little. If the filmmaker does intervene, it is 
usually to provide a context for the events on 
the screen, not to analyze them. Though these 
films tell us about other people's values and 
world views, the how and why of cultural 
process is left unstated. If there are conclu- 
sions to be drawn from the material, the audi- 
ence is left on its own to draw them. This 
demands an extraordinarily alert, educated 
and thoughtful audience — or else a class of 
social science students. 

Documentary films which do analyze cul- 
tural processes are often explicitly political. 
Connie Field's Rosie the Riveter, for exam- 
ple, shows how women were recruited into the 
work force in great numbers during World 
War II. The media of the day — using popular 
songs, posters and newsreels — helped propa- 
gate the idea of a female workforce. After the 
war, the same media explained how and why 
women should cheerfully give up their jobs. 
In demonstrating how the media influenced 
people's attitudes, the film shows how ideas 
affect their behavior. The film can be so ex- 
plicit partly because it is partisan. On one side 
stand working women, who are treated with 
the care and respect due to subjects. On the 
other side are the government, media, em- 
ployers and some men, who are treated with 
irony and derision. 

One way for documentarians to overcome 
the limitations implied in the outsider role is 
to work ever more closely with the groups 
they film, generating analysis within the 
group. A second possibility is for insiders to 
begin making films about themselves. But 
pressures from within the group may also nar- 
row the options of insider/filmmakers. At a 
recent FACE (Folk Arts for Communication 
and Education) conference, some delegates 
argued that it is sometimes necessary to ex- 
clude from a film a ritual such as female 
adolescent circumcision because it would 
prove shocking to a foreign audience, 
regardless of the context. 

Everyone involved in filmmaking — subject 
and filmmaker — brings his or her own hopes, 
fears and expectations to a film. But the 
challenge to both outsiders looking in and in- 
siders looking in is to balance the responsibili- 
ty of sympathy with the responsibility of 
honest interpretation. ■ 

Pauline Spiegel is an independent film- 
maker (The Gold Pit) and freelance writer. 
She has a master's degree in anthropology 
and a long-standing interest in ethnographic 
film. 
APRIL 1984 



INCOME TAX PREPARATION 



Special attention to individual filmmakers, 
editors, and freelancers 



Susan Lee 



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Such a deal. 



Since 1972 Afterimage has offered a forum for the discussion of video, 
independent film, photography, and visual books. Afterimage has been a source 
of groundbreaking critical articles, probing interviews with artists, and timely 
news about the arts. 

Afterimage is read by people who take their work seriously. It's well written. It's 
well illustrated. And it's not afraid to address controversy. These are just some 
of the people we've talked about in recent issues: 



GEORGE STONE Y 
VITOACCONCI 
SHIRLEY CLARKE 
JOAN JONAS 
JOHNHANHARDT 
YVONNE RAINER 
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MARTHA ROSLER 
JOYCE wTELAND 
LIZZIE BORDEN 
ROBERT WILSON 
CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN 
BETH AND SCOTT B 
RITA MYERS 



BRUCE CONNER 
HERBERT SCHILLER 
DIETER FROESE 
KAREN COOPER 
KENFEINGOLD 
MARYLUCIER 
MARGIA KRAMER 



Independently published, without advertising, Afterimage is also the only 
journal which consistently covers video art. Ask for it where you buy magazines. 

Subscriptions are $22.00 per year (10 issues). For Mastercharge or VISA orders, 
please include your card number and its expiration date. Send payment to 
Afterimage, Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St., Room 222, Rochester 
N.Y. 14607. 



AFTERIMAGE 



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(212)586-1603 



17 



The Theatrical Track 

From Courtship to 

Contract 



Indies are negotiating more distribution pick-ups these 

days. What do you win, what do you lose when you go with 

one of the established distributors or classics divisions? 




George Nierenberg's Say Amen, Somebody is only slowly reaching Black audiences because its distributor, UA 
Classics, concentrated on art houses. But the distributor was helpful in setting up a record deal. 



While independents have tasted the joys 
and sorrows of barnstorming, four-walling, 
and collective distribution, they are only start- 
ing to assess the performance of established 
distributors and the majors' new classics divi- 
sions. The Independent surveyed a small 
cross-section of films which have been picked 
up by distributors for American theatrical 
release to spotlight the issues facing in- 
dependents as they go to market. (Note that 
this investigation excludes films produced for 
the American Playhouse series — the subject 
of an upcoming article.) 

An established distributor offers expertise 
and contacts that can give you access to val- 
uable theatrical and telecast markets. And the 
filmmaker, of course, provides the product. 
But this symbiosis of interests can evolve into 
a power relationship more complicated than 
the natural tension between business partners 
who are counting on profits from the same 
18 



pie. What's the split of the take? Who pays 
for prints and publicity? Who calls the shots? 

The distributor's assets are tangible. Its an- 
nual earnings are X dollars, its catalogue in- 
cludes X films which have been distributed to 
X theaters in X number of territories. And 
huge multinationals may back it (Coca-Cola 
owns Columbia, which owns Triumph). On 
the other hand, your film is likely to be a first 
feature in an untested market, even if it has 
good potential and good notices — intangibles 
unlikely to easily sway investors. But don't 
underestimate or underutilize your own 
bargaining currency in hammering out the 
distribution relationship from courtship 
through contract negotiations to the actual 
marketing process. 

For an independent, choosing a distributor 
is like an agency's search for adoptive 
parents. As George Nierenberg, director of 
Say Amen, Somebody, points out, "Ul- 



timately, when you hand your film over to the 
distributor it's their film — it's not yours 
anymore. They're the ones who have to run 
with it and decide what to do." Therefore 
tough questions are in order. Does the dis- 
tributor have sufficient working capital to 
strike prints and push the film? Does it have 
pull with exhibitors? Is the company ex- 
perienced in handling similar types of films 
and does it understand that the distribution of 
studio-produced pictures and art films in- 
volves different strategies and sensitivities? 
But first, they have to want your "baby." 

THE DISTRIBUTOR DA TING GAME 

What kind of films have caught the eye of 
established distributors? With the exception 
of El Norte and Chan Is Missing, minority 
directors have not fared well. Nor have 
women directors, who have otherwise forged 
a solid presence in independent filmmaking. 
(Although surprisingly enough, Sara Risher, 
vice president of production and acquisitions 
at New Line deemed Susan Seidelman's fea- 
ture Smithereens marketable because it is the 
product of a woman director.) Despite a few 
documentary distribution successes, notably 
Harlan County, USA and The Atomic Cafe, 
dramatic features still attract the most in- 
dustry interest. 

The search for a distributor is most likely to 
be the effort to attract one, unless you have a 
particularly hot property which is being 
sought after. Distributors rarely come to see a 
picture cold at a filmmaker's invitation, par- 
ticularly if the director or the film does not 
have name recognition. If by chance dis- 
tributor execs do come to your screening, they 
may wait for further reinforcement before 
making an offer. Libra and other distributors 
first saw Home Tree All at director Stewart 
Bird's own screenings, but did not make any 
commitments. After the Montreal Film 
Festival and a positive Variety review, the 
distributors asked to see it. "I told them 
they'd already seen it," Bird recalled 
somewhat sardonically. This time Libra made 
an offer and Bird signed on. 

Good timing is essential. A major festival 
screening and its accompanying prizes and 
reviews can grab distributor attention and up 
the value of your bargaining currency. The 
meteoric rise from obscurity of Wayne 
Wang's Chan Is Missing after a Vincent Can- 
by review of the New Directors/New Film 
Series in the New York Times is now legen- 
dary. Wang suddenly got offers "from prac- 
tically everybody," including UA Classics 
and Paramount, before he finally chose to go 
with New Yorker. 

Distributors first heard about Say Amen, 
Somebody at the Telluride Film Festival. "I 
had the choice to wait longer and take the risk 
of doing well at the New York Film Festival," 
Nierenberg explained, "so I hedged my bets 
and did do well there, strengthening my posi- 
tion with the distributors." Nierenberg signed 
with UA Classics. While negotiating with 
Libra Cinema 5, Pierce and Kevin Rafferty 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



and Jayne Loader, the producers of The 
Atomic Cafe, opened it for two weeks at the 
Film Forum in New York, where it became the 
theater's all-time top grossing film. "To a cer- 
tain extent [Ben] Barenholtz [president of 
Libra Cinema 5 — see accompanying inter- 
view] was waiting to see what the audience at 
the Film Forum would be like. The Film 
Forum run put us in a stronger position," 
recalls Pierce Rafferty. 



SPENDING $$ TO GET $$ 

If you are not inclined to wheeling and deal- 
ing, a sales agent can handle the dirty work. 
For Cannes, Susan Seidelman contracted with 
Affinity Enterprises, which represented her in 
signing with New Line. Robert Jones hired 
Michael Goldberg as a producers' represen- 
tative for Mission Hill at the Independent 
Feature Market. But while some directors 
leave the negotiating to producers and others 
cut the deal themselves, all consult attorneys. 

According to Robert Freedman, partner in 
the entertainment firm Rosenblum & Freed- 
man, attorney's fees vary. "Some clients can 
do a lot of the work themselves. Then it would 
be $250 or so to just have a lawyer review the 
contract and give an opinion. But sometimes 
the contract can look like a lease, so a lot of 
points may need to be negotiated." He cites 
$1 ,000 as a lowside figure for a more complex 
negotiation. "It depends on the scope of the 
deal too. If it's a small film with a small ad- 
vance the lawyer will have to make the fee 
more realistic." Freedman suggests calling 
other filmmakers for suggestions on lawyers 
just as you might call around for crews. (See 
Freedman's article "Square Deal: Choosing a 
Distributor," The Independent, December, 
1982.) 

Just getting to the point of contracting to 
make money can mean spending money. On 
top of lawyer's fees come other costs: screen- 
ings, initial prints, shipping to festivals and 
publicity. These immediate financial pres- 
sures may limit one's bargaining strength. 
Seidelman contracted with Affinity in a hasty 
exchange of $25,000 to do a 35mm blow-up of 
Smithereens so it could qualify for the Cannes 
official competition. Bird signed with Libra in 
part because it offered him a good advance 
which he needed to pay his Screen Actors 
Guild cast and his crew for deferred costs — a 
situation not unfamiliar to independents. The 
fate of the undercapitalized independent is 
something like that of the little investor who 
must sell off equity prematurely to pay for 
rent — one may end up sacrificing long-term 
gains in the process. 



NER VE- WRA CKING 
CORPORATE SHAKE-UPS 

A major concern for independents is 
avoiding treatment as a small, forgotten fish 
in a pool of many big fish. Stan Warnow, co- 
director of the documentary In Our Hands, 
said, "Libra turned out to be a good 
APRIL 19B4 



distributor for us because they're not so huge 
that they'll take a limited marketing film and 
forget about it, but not so small that they 
don't have an infrastructure to market it." 

But the variables in this filmmaker- 
distributor balancing act can change unex- 
pectedly. Several filmmakers complained of 
the deleterious effects and depersonalization 
caused by corporate shake-ups. "All these 
large corporations are fraught with the prob- 
lem of changeovers," explained Nierenberg, 
who has had to deal with two changes of 
administration at UA Classicssince he signed 
in 1982. Most of the sales force he signed on 
with left before the film was even released. 
"Every time some new people come in you 
have to start with them from scratch," he 
continued. "They don't know anything about 



theatrical, foreign and domestic, television 
and cable sales, or any portion thereof. Ad- 
vances vary widely, from nothing at all to El 
Norte's reported quarter of a million. One 
would assume that the advance depends on 
the degree of risk to the distributor. But the 
65-minute City News, quite a gamble because 
of its short length, received what filmmaker 
David Fishelson called an advance he's "very 
happy with" from Cinecom International for 
theatrical distribution, while Smithereens and 
Say Amen, Somebody received advances the 
filmmakers did not regard as substantial. Said 
Seidelman, "At the time the film hadn't 
opened yet so we didn't know what would 
happen. I was happy to get any agreement. 
Both myself and New Line were surprised 
with its success. Had I known [it would do 




Home Free All attracted attention from Libra after a positive Variety review, but has yet to obtain the 
distributor's promised 15-city release. 



the film." Mission Hill's release momentum 
was slowed when Atlantic Releasing became 
preoccupied with its own production of 
Alphabet City, directed by Amos Poe. The 
producers of The Atomic Cafe were unhappy 
with the loss of attention when Libra was 
bought by Almi, a larger company. "It's 
easier to lose track of how the film is doing 
now, and harder to get reporting on gross, net 
rentals, where the film has played," said 
Pierce Rafferty. "It's hard for me to get 
figures on anything now." 

BOTTOM LINES 

Of course, in the final analysis, the most 
important factor in choosing a distributor is 
the bottom line offer. The standard money 
deal is a 50-50 or 60-40 split on the gross after 
costs, with filmmakers signing off all or part 
of the rights, including theatrical and non- 



well] I would have used it as leverage to get an 
advance." 

But other matters being equal, filmmakers 
Aiay also rely on more subjective criteria in 
choosing their distributor. Why did Wang go 
with New Yorker? "Because they had pictures 
of all the great directors on the wall. Actually 
it was a gut-level thing, not logical. 1 liked 
everyone." 

MARKETING STRA TEGIES 

Most of the filmmakers surveyed did not 
expect their American theatrical release to be 
a major source of profits. Fishelson considers 
it "icing on the cake," and anticipates better 
returns from television sales, including an 
American Playhouse public television broad- 
cast. After two full years, the producers of 
The Atomic Cafe said they have netted 
approximately $250,000 and paid their debts. 

19 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Seidelman has broken even on Smithereens 
from box office sales after all the costs of the- 
atrical release — but expects to generate 
money on the cable sales which began at the 
end of 1983. 

But a theatrical release means publicity and 
momentum. A New York opening is almost 
de rigueur for art films, which is rightly or 
wrongly the classification for almost any in- 
dependent feature. (And for those who dream 
of an Academy Award nomination, a min- 
imum one-week run in Los Angeles must be 
obtained.) While New York may not reflect or 
determine the tastes of millions of Americans 
from Oregon to Vermont, it can determine 
what they will be reading about. New York 



theaters. "Pan-Canadian [owner of the Cana- 
dian rights] put it in a cineplex theater in 
Toronto where people go to see John Travolta 
films, and it did poorly." Like Smithereens, 
Mission Hill faced a short run at Boston's 
Beacon Hill theater, part of the huge Sack 
Theater chain, even though it is a small-scale 
local production. Both filmmakers would 
have preferred screenings at specialty theaters 
in Cambridge, with its huge university 
population and, in fact, Atlantic will open 
Mission Hill there in late February. Seidelman 
believes it is worth getting involved in a film's 
theatrical placement, and warns that an indie 
film can get stuck in an inappropriate theater 
by the distributor as part of a package deal. 



MANILA CAFE 

NANCY &VICKI 




San Francisco -based filmmaker Wayne Wang worked with his distributor New Yorker Films right through the 
launching of Chan is Missing. 



openings generated national press for Chan Is 
Missing and Smithereens, and launched the 
momentum which took both films across the 
country. (According to Risher, Smithereens 
has had at least 250 playdates nationwide.) 
Bad press can also check that all-important 
momentum in the starting blocks; Paul Smart 
of the Independent Feature Project cited bad 
New York press as leading to the demise of 
David Burton Morris' Purple Haze in its first 
release. 

But Purple Haze's problems may be as 
much a function of an inappropriate release 
strategy as bad press. According to Morris, 
Triumph (the classics division of Columbia 
Pictures) "treated it like an art film, but it's a 
kids' film. The 57th Street Playhouse was the 
wrong theater. It should have opened up in 
[Greenwich] Village or in [New York City's] 
boroughs." Producer Thomas Fucci thought 
it should have been opened in the Midwest, 
where the film is set, and then moved out to 
the coasts. 

Similarly, Seidelman blamed Smithereen's 
poor performance in Boston and Toronto on 
her distributor's bookings at the wrong 
20 



THE RIGHT STUFF 

When an indie is opened at a strategic 
theater, the results can be hot and even 
pioneering. New Line premiered Smithereens 
in Greenwich Village's Waverly Theater, 
which had previously exhibited second-run 
features. The film held at the Waverly for 18 
weeks and opened the door to playing other 
American independents there, including The 
Atomic Cafe and Liquid Sky. Seattle has also 
emerged as a new premiere city for in- 
dependents. According to Bird, "Seattle is an 
interesting test market for indies. The Return 
of the Secaucus 7 opened there, and Northern 
Lights did well." 

Placing a film in the right theater is all a 
function of shaping its marketing image. "I 
felt my responsibility wasn't finished until the 
film was launched," explained Wang, who 
worked closely with New Yorker's advertising 
and marketing campaign for Chan during its 
inception. "For a month and a half I was at 
their office almost every day. I wanted to 
make sure the film was marketed correctly." 

However, New Yorker was reluctant to 



fulfill two exhibition promises Wang had 
made with early supporters of the film — the 
Asian American Film Festival and the Collec- 
tive for Living Cinema. Wang stepped in for 
both groups to secure their screenings. 

As for Say Amen, it too has not gotten to 
one of its director's intended audiences: the 
Black community. "The film has never 
played in a Black theater because UA Clas- 
sics' strength is in art houses." Nierenberg has 
persisted in arguing for a Black theatrical 
release, and has worked with UA Classics on 
special promotions in Black churches, a 
benefit for the NAACP, and a concert and 
screening at the Rikers Island prison facility. 
For both Wang and Nierenberg, the bargain- 
ing did not stop when the ink dried on the 
contract. 

Some filmmakers have been able to secure 
guarantees on the number of playdates during 
a specific time period. Jones' contract with 
Atlantic Releasing stipulated openings in two 
markets within six months for Mission Hill. 
But while Libra promised a 15-city release to 
Home Free All within the first year after 
opening, there still has been no initial release, 
much to the filmmaker's chagrin. (However, 
Barenholtz indicated to The Independent that 
the film would open in Seattle in March prior 
to a New York run.) 



IMAGE PROCESSING 

The promotion budget is yet another balan- 
cing act. Filmmakers want to see adequate 
monies spent on publicity, but realize that the 
costs will cut into profits. New Line has spent 
$50,000 on Smithereen 's New York opening, 
and a couple hundred thousand in total. "We 
didn't want to overspend with a little film like 
that and tried to keep costs down to the 
bone," explained Risher. But the level of 
spending suited Seidelman, who lent a hand in 
the extensive grassroots campaign of leaflets 
and postcards. 

Most filmmakers found their distributors 
open to ideas about publicity and promotion. 
Libra went with the graphics already devel- 
oped by the producers of In Our Hands, and 
Atlantic Releasing used the ad campaign 
created by Jones and his production com- 
pany, Still Run Films. UA Classics helped 
Nierenberg put together a record deal on Say 
Amen, although he had initial problems with 
their choice of image to represent the film (a 
still of the Barrett sisters, who are lead 
characters in this film about gospel singers). 
"It had a Dreamgiris quality. Perhaps a less 
literal image might have been better. They 
didn't want the film to look like a 'Black film' 
or a documentary, but they chose an image 
that was Black and documentary-like," said 
Nierenberg. UA has since deleted the still and 
switched to a title treatment. 

The producers of The Atomic Cafe hired 
David Fenton as a publicist to coordinate with 
the various local publicists from theaters 
across the country, and Libra assumed a 
percentage of Fenton 's costs. The Raffertys 

APRIL 1984 



and Loader also produced a highly effective 
15-minute sample reel on l A " cassette which 
was mailed out to local news stations. "We 
got the equivalent of millions of dollars in 
television ads for free," said Pierce Rafferty. 
Clips were shown on "20-20," the "CBS 
Nightly News" and numerous other local and 
national programs with the credit line, "From 
the movie The Atomic Cafe. " 

For Purple Haze, Triumph's initial promo- 
tional outlays were deemed inadequate by 
director Morris. "They needed more ads. 
They didn't do radio spots, or TV. We should 
have had an album come out . . . Hendrix, Jef- 
ferson Airplane, Dusty Springfield, whoever 
was around in the 60s is in the film." Un- 
daunted, Triumph will soon try a new strat- 
egy, marketing Purple Haze more as a youth 
film with a different print campaign and radio 
spots. At Morris' request they have hired Jeff 
Down, the marketing consultant for The Grey 
Fox and Heart Like a Wheel. 

Libra Cinema 5 capitalized on the social 
currency afforded by the anti-nuclear themes 
of The Atomic Cafe and In Our Hands. Ac- 
cording to Andrew Lamy, director of sales for 
the theatrical division, "Any political film is 
all grassroots work. To spend money on ads is 
ridiculous — get the newspapers to work for 
you. What's important for a documentary is 
not the promotion budget but what you're 
doing for it." Libra will rely on celebrities 
such as Pete Seeger and Roy Scheider who ap- 
peared in In Our Hands to generate free 
publicity from talk show spots and the like. It 
will also follow a strategy similar to that of 
The Atomic Cafe, using word-of-mouth and 
local support. According to Pierce Rafferty, 
"Andrew was good in getting local initiatives 
to promote the film the 50's way, " including a 
"fall in, fall out party" in Kansas City, and 
special screenings in Congress and the British 
Parliament. 

Independents who sign on with established 
distributors may find themselves in the same 
catalogue with Francois Truffaut. Flattering 
as that is, you'll have to ask yourself whether 
that distributor is right for you. An indepen- 
dent may end up overshadowed by the other 
films of a distribution heavy. But opening 
your film to new audiences and new sources 
of income may also be the way of realizing the 
dream of having one's feature story seen and 
heard. ■ 



VARIETY REPORTED . . . 

The classics divisions of the five majors 
have already contracted 30 films to be 
released during 1984, according to Variety. 
The five divisions — Triumph Films (Colum- 
bia), Orion Classics, United Artists Classics, 
20th Century -Fox Classics and Universal 
Classics — are subsidiaries of the major 
production-distribution studios which ac- 
count for about 90% of the total US box 
office sales. The Variety report also pointed 
out that this 30-film tally does not include 
1983 indie productions which have not yet 
signed with a distributor. 



Distributor Calls It 
"A Power Game" 



SUSAN LINFIELD 

Distributor Ben Barenholtz is the presi- 
dent of Libra Cinema 5 (now part of Almi 
Pictures). His activities in independent 
film distribution and exhibition span 20 
years. From 1965-67 Barenholtz managed 
the Village Theater (subsequently the 
Fillmore East), a meeting-place for per- 
formers, poets, artists and radicals on the 
Lower East Side. During the late sixties 
and early seventies he owned the Elgin, a 
major exhibitor of "underground" films 
in New York and the pioneer of the mid- 
night show. In 1972 Barenholtz formed 
Libra distributors. Along with El Topo, 
the Elgin's first midnight show, 
Barenholtz is also credited with "discov- 
ering" such films as Eraserhead, 
Asparagus, Cousin, Cousine and The 
Return of the Secaucus 7. 

SUSAN LINFIELD: How and why did the 

midnight shows start? 

BEN BARENHOLTZ: For a couple of 
years I had been thinking that the whole 
system of opening films in New York was 
very bad for offbeat or unusual films that 
did not have broad public support, but 
could have a narrow audience. So they 
started as a method of opening films that 
could reach that narrow audience, but 
could also be economical. 

After seeing El Topo I convinced its 
owners that if they opened it in the normal 
manner the critics would kill it and they'd 
be dead in two days. So they said, "OK, 
we'll let you open at midnight." The ex- 
perts in the business said, "Who the hell's 
gonna come see a film at midnight? 
Besides, you have no [ad] campaign." I 
said, "I don't want a campaign." The total 
advertising budget was $24.00 per week, 
which paid for a little ad in the [Village] 
Voice which just said "EL TOPO AT 
MIDNIGHT." They said, "What about 
critics?" I said, "I don't want to screen it 
for critics, I don't want reviews — this is 
previews. " Within its first week it started 
selling out. By the second month the limos 
were pulling up. 

We showed films at the Elgin like Pink 
Flamingos, The Harder They Come 
. . . But they weren't referred to as "in- 
dependent" films at that time; they were 
"underground," "experimental," "avant- 
garde." 

SL: It seems from the standpoint of 
American independent filmmakers that 
major distribution companies, and also 
some smaller companies, are increasingly 
picking up their films. I'm talking about 



the low-budget film: The Atomic Cafe, 
John Sayles, Chan Is Missing... Is that 
wishful thinking or is this in fact a trend? 

BB: Well, I don't see any particular trend. 
Most of those films were not picked up by 
majors. And if you're talking about the 
classics divisions: they're another fad. 
They're on the way out — as they were 
from the day they started. They're not 
viable. I've always warned independent film- 
makers against the classics divisions. 
They're such a minor part of the company 
[that owns them] that they are not capable 
of handling a small, low-budget film that 
needs careful attention. A company can't 
do the big films it needs to survive and 
those small films too. When a United Ar- 
tists has a debt of, say, $100 million, and 
the classics division makes a million 
dollars — it's meaningless. They're not go- 
ing to devote the time and energy that's 
needed. 

Actually, the classics divisions have 
changed. UA Classics, which was the most 
prominent, has moved to California, and 
they've come under the control of their 
general sales manager. And any classics 
division that is not autonomous is 
nonsense: You cannot use your branches 
and your regular sales force and still call 
yourself a classics division. The only one I 
see right now that's still properly run is 
Orion; it still has a measure of in- 
dependence. 

But I think the classics divisions are 
missing the boat entirely about indepen- 
dent filmmaking in relation to the majors. 
The classics should never be thought of as 
profit centers, but rather as talent develop- 
ment centers. There's a tremendous 
amount of talent out there. The European 
art film is essentially atrophied, dead; it's 
turned into pretense. It's here that the art 
film is being made. So if they had any 
sense, instead of thinking about making 
money off of independents, they should 
support these people as a development of 
future talent that they could [later] utilize 
in the mainstream. (Because we know, no 
matter what they say, that most indepen- 
dent filmmakers would still love to do a 
Hollywood film. They'd sell out in a 
minute!) 

Of course, what the classics divisions did 
manage to do is hike up the prices on films, 
to the point where they're not economical 
[to distribute]. And they're finding this 
out. I think in the long run the classics 
have harmed the independent filmmaker. 

(continued on />i/i;<' Jr>) 



APRIL 1984 



21 



THE INDEPENDENT 



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Locarno: 

A Leopard By the Lake 



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JACQUELINE LEGER 

The Locarno International Film Festival 
could be just the place for filmmakers seeking 
a subtropical climate, a romantic lakeside set- 
ting, Italian charm, Swiss efficiency and lots 
of films. Although the emphasis is on new 
directors/new films, the selection committee 
seems to be bogged down with diplomacy and 
adheres to United Nations standards. As a 
result, one can only expect to find one to three 
spots open per country and too many film- 
makers to fill them. Festival director David 
Streiff intends to encourage the 15 "in- 
dependents" chosen for the competition by 
offering adequate press coverage, screening 
time, and a chance to win a gold, silver or 
bronze leopard. Spike Lee's 16mm Joe's Bed- 
Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (under 
feature time at 60 minutes) filled one US slot 
in 1983; the other was filled by Farestedah 
(The Mission) by Iranian emigrant Parviz 
Sayyad. Both were well received by the Euro- 
pean press and won awards: Joe's Bed-Stuy, a 
silver leopard, and Farestedah a bronze. The 
jury included Adrienne Mancia of the 
Museum of Modern Art representing the US. 

Communication can be amusing or annoy- 
ing at Locarno, as the festival reflects the bi- 
lingual problems Swiss people face every day. 
All the film documentation last year lacked 
English translations, alienating anyone who 
didn't pass French, German or Italian 101. 
Daily press conferences and roundtables moved 
slowly in the absence of a decisive "festival 
language." Swiss/Italian TV (TSI) covered 
the events with clips and interviews each eve- 
ning — but only in Italian. 

Although the New Directors competition is 
supposed to be the festival highlight, one 
glimpse of the program shows it also com- 
petes with eight other categories. If you're 
bored with first features, you can amble over 
to seven other events. Ozu and his com- 
patriots filled the traditional Retrospective 
slot last year, while national cinema offered 
six titles from Brazil. A more highbrow 
category was the FIPRESCI (International 
Federation of Film Critics) award. Invited 
film critics chose six films for inclusion in 
semi-academic reverence. Emile de Antonio's 
In the King of Prussia was the US choice. The 
"Carte Blanche" slot allows one director each 
year free reign to show six films that most in- 
influenced his or her career. For TV freaks, TV 
movies were the newest facet of the Locarno 
fest. Premiered last year, this competition 
presented the "best" TV films made during 



22 



the past two years. The quantity of produc- 
tion was amazing: 92 features. 

The various programs are shown in two 
screening rooms (the Morettina 1 and 2), two 
video screening rooms (correction: TV) and 
one Cinema Rex in town. The center Scho- 
laire Morettina, by the way, is out of town, 
but a regular festival bus carts people back 
and forth, free of charge. The bus is an in- 
tegral part of the festival social life and should 
not be underestimated. Many a critical debate 
is born here. Morettina is the daily romping 
ground of about 1 ,000 cinephiles. It has a cafe 
and a cinema bookstore and is hectic until 
9:00 pm and the last bus back to town. 

In the evening the focus of festivities shifts 
abruptly to the festival's high point — the 
Piazza Grande films. The town of Locarno, a 
picturesque tourist attraction, is overrun with 
August vacationers milling around with noth- 
ing to do. The festival organizers, seemingly 
taking this into consideration, decided to pre- 
sent a festival within a festival amounting to 
about 17 films, many left over from Cannes 
or Berlin, re-heated and digested by crowds 
numbering 2,000 to 3,000 each weekend. This 
proves to be a profitable venture; the films are 
apt to show soon at your neighborhood art 
theater: Imamura's The Ballad of Narayama, 
Saura's Carmen, Oshima's Furyo, Marker's 
Sans Soleil and McBride's Breathless, to name a 
few. Only Akerman's Toute Une Nuit or 
Aristarain's Tiempo de Revanche represented 
"unknown factors" and were shown with the 
hope of finding Swiss distribution rather than 
drawing crowds. The only drawback of the 
Piazza Grande screenings is that they carry an 
aura that seems to say "this is what great cinema 
is" or "this is what young, inexperienced film- 
makers should aspire to." 

[Although the smaller independent will face 
fierce competition in Locarno, participants 
over the past several years have expressed 
consistent satisfaction with both their treat- 
ment by the festival administration and the 
press. While it is not clear to what extent a 
screening in Locarno can help your distribu- 
tion prospects, the Locarno festival and its 
director David Streiff have earned a reputation 
tion for excellence, not a bad context for an 
independent's debut. Streiff has already 
decided to invite Rob Nilsson's Signal 7, 
which he saw at the Rotterdam Cinemart, to 
the 1984 Festival, and if, after visiting Cannes 
and Berlin he still has another American spot 
to fill, he will visit New York. If you have a 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



feature film you would like to enter, please 
contact Wendy Lidell at FIVF as soon as 
possible. — WL] 

Jacqueline Leger is a filmmaker and jour- 
nalist living in Switzerland. This is the first of 
a series of articles on European festivals she 
will be contributing to this column. 

Mellow in Marin 
During Mill Valley 

The Mill Valley Film Festival is held in 
beautiful, renowned Marin county, where 
Lucasfilm and many Bay Area filmmakers are 
located. But don't count on George Lucas at- 
tending your screening, even though Lu- 
casfilm is a corporate sponsor. For Mill 
Valley is an intimate festival, supported by an 
enthusiastic and generally sophisticated Bay 
Area film-going and filmmaking community. 
The San Francisco press covers the festival 
thoroughly; the Sunday "Pink Sheet" in the 
San Francisco Examiner printed the festival's 
entire schedule, and both San Francisco pa- 
pers reviewed the films daily. Last year, 
Robert Young's The Ballad of Gregorio Cor- 
tez received an excellent San Francisco review 
which influenced Cortez's distributor to move 
the film into a better house. 

The festival's publicity staff does an ex- 
cellent job. My film Summerspell attracted 
perhaps 20 critics, radio people and the like to 
its press preview, and was timed a few days in 
advance of its public screening. The staff 
made calls and followed leads, although it is 
the filmmaker's responsibility to let them 
know your expectations and needs. Program 
notes were the best I'd read, with reviews by 
staffers or critics which actually inspired you 
to see the films. 

Like many small festivals, Mill Valley's 
programming is eclectic. It presents American 
and international fare, as well as Super-8 



films, shorts and videotapes. Last year's inde- 
pendent features included Amy Smith's Love 
Letters and my own Summerspell, as well as 
tributes to Robert Young (Alambrista! 
Nothing but a Man) and Henry Jaglom (Can 
She Bake a Cherry Pie?, A Safe Place, 
Tracks). The European films included 
features recently completed or not yet in re- 
lease. 

The video festival presented varied fare 
ranging from a special Bay Area program to 
"The Best of Rock Video" to Rob Nilsson's 
discussion of his film Signal 7 which was shot 
on video and transferred to 35mm. 

The program of shorts featured American 
and international films. The Super-8 festival, 
held in the Arts Center across the street from 
the main theaters, attracted good crowds. 
Documentaries concentrated on the theme 
"Nuclear Realities." Because the Bay Area is 
very politically conscious, these films were 
well-received. 

The Arts Center and Garden served as a 
focus for meetings, socializing and eating, so 
there was little of the schizophrenia of other 
festivals spread over multiple screenings 
and locales. 

My only criticisms of the festival are the in- 
adequate sound in the Sequoia Theaters I and 
II and the scheduling of parties at the same 
time as late afternoon and early evening 
screenings. I was torn between being "an- 
nounced" as in-attendance at a party and see- 
ing the one-and-only screening of Monkey 
Grip, by Australian producer Pat Lovell. (By 
the way, Lovell herself suffered from a confu- 
sion independents would do well to heed. She 
didn't speak after her screening because she 
didn't know she could or should. When in 
doubt, it's good to ask about such matters.) 

Word has it that next year the staffers 
would like a more "upbeat" festival in terms 
of theme ("A Celebration of Film"), as last 
year was considered a somewhat "dark" year 





1 


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■ In 


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'"Ta^^H* HMBiar* »■»•«* ' i 




hfa. 


N *v 1 



Photographed in California mountains and deserts, Una Shanklin's Summerspell showed at both Mill Valley and 
Munich, where Werner Herzog kissed her hem in a fit of enthusiasm for the film. 

APRIL 1984 



thematically. Next year the festival plans to 
give more attention to the work of American 
independents and experimental film. Tradi- 
tionally held in August, the festival has been 
bumped to September 20-26 next year by the 
Olympic extravaganza further south. For in- 
formation, contact Mill Valley Film Festival, 
Suite 20, 80 Lomita Drive, Mill Valley, CA 
94941. Tel: (415)383-0090. 

— Lina Shanklin 

Munich: A Newborn 
In the Bavarian Belt 

A high point of last summer's foreign festival 
circuit for American independents came during 
the 1st Munich International Film Festival, 
when Werner Herzog, a founder of the New 
German Cinema, came forward to kiss the hem 
of first-time independent director Lina 
Shanklin's (Summerspell) skirt at the closing 
press conference of the festival. In one grand 
symbolic gesture, the baton was passed from the 
great national film movement of the seventies to 
the burgeoning New American Cinema of re- 
cent years. It is due to this emphasis on the new 
trends of cinema, and the support of the inter- 
national film community, that the new Munich 
Festival has been able to place itself among the 
world's high-ranking film festivals so firmly in 
such a short time. 

The festival, which ran from June 18-26, 
under the able direction of Eberhard Hauff, 
presented over 80 major feature films in three 
theaters throughout the city of Munich , capital 
of the German film industry. With a number of 
highlighted entries coming directly from Can- 
nes, the festival was able to push itself directly 
into the post -Cannes non-competitive category 
previously shared by New York, Toronto, 
Sydney and Los Angeles' FILMEX. Using a 
unique blend of screenings and seminars/discus- 
sions built around a "special sections" em- 
phasis, the Munich Festival provided a valuable 
forum for American independents in Europe, as 
well as an opportunity for indie directors to 
bathe in a limelight denied them at home. The 
"special sections" in 1983 included international 
first runs, American independents, off-Holly- 
wood retrospectives, women directors, New 
German Cinema, a New German Cinema 
retrospective, children's films, and a special 
events lineup of film classics. 

In addition to Shanklin and the Independent 
Feature Project, Americans in attendance in- 
cluded Robert Young ( The Ballad of Gregorio 
Cortez), who served as spokesman for the New 
American Cinema in a number of introductory 
statements and seminars, and Deac Rossell of 
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, whocurated the 
"off-Hollywood" retrospective of earlier 
American independents. 

The 2nd Munich International Film Festival 
has been slotted for a June 23-July 1 run this 
year, with equal emphasis on American in- 
dependents. Although not as internationally im- 
portant as Berlin or Cannes, the festival does 
provide enthusiastic audiences, empathetic 
critics and programmers, and enough buyers 
from the German-speaking markets to mark a 



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notable addition to the international festival cir- 
cuit. [It should be stressed that participation in 
Munich will preclude any possibility of presen- 
ting your film in the following edition of Berlin, 
still indisputably Germany 's major film festival 
(and second only to Cannes in worldwide im- 
portance). Since Berlin, which takes place in 
February, annually precedes Munich in June, 
this won't often be a problem, but it's 
something you may want to consider if you 
finish your film during the time between the two 
festivals. — Ed.] 

Filmmakers benefit most by attending the 
festival in person. Activities include guided 
tours of the Bavarian film studios, special 
events featuring filmmakers, and lively dis- 
cussions of films with avid audiences. 
Meetings with German filmmakers and in- 
dustry people can be valuable in terms of indi- 
vidual projects and revealing about indie film- 
making in general. 

Rather than being relegated to an "in- 
dependent" section, American filmmakers 
turned up in a wide variety of categories last 
year, and probably will again this summer. 
Last year, indies popped up in the retrospec- 
tive, American independents and women di- 
rectors categories. If 1983 is any indication, 
press attention should be significant, especial- 
ly for those who attend the festival. 

For more information contact either the 
Independent Feature Project, 1776 Broad- 
way, 9th floor, NY NY; Tel. (212) 245-1622, 
.or the festival: Munich International Film 
Festival, Turkenstr. 93, 8000 Munchen 40. 
West Germany — Timothy Ney and Paul Smart 

Timothy Ney is executive director of the In- 
dependent Feature Project and Paul Smart is 
its program associate. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's additional festivals have been 
complied by Melody Pariser and Wendy 
Udell with the help of the FIVF files. 
Listings do not consitute an endorse- 
ment, and since some details change 
faster than we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If your ex- 
perience differs from our account, please let 
us know so we can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

• AMERICAN DEAD FISH SUPERS FESTI- 
VAL, April, a 3-yr.-old festival that promotes the 
use of dead fish in S-8 film, is sponsored by the Fish 
& Film Club of America. 3 Trout medals of distinc- 
tion awarded each year: gold, silver and bronze. 
Films selected by a committee of club members and 
critics. Submissions limited to 1 entry per director. 
Entry fee: $10. Deadline: April 1; next festival will 
be held April 1, 1985. Winning films will be sent up- 
stream to die. Contact: American Dead Fish S-8 
Festival, 33 Spawn Lake Road, Center Ossipee NH 
03814. 




24 



• MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL, Sept 
17-20, named after famed anthropologist whose 
pioneering work did so much to establish & en- 
courage use of film for documentation & analytic 
purposes. 50 films in 16mm will be screened at the 
Museum of Natural History to a projected total au- 
dience of over 8000. Almost 75% of the films in this 
non-competitive event are independent. Deadline: 
May 1; no fee. Before entering, please get in touch 
with Florence Stone or Malcolm Arth, Co- 
Chairpersons, Museum of Natural History, Cen- 
tral Park West at 79th St, NY NY 10024; (212) 
873-1070. 

• NATIONAL VIDEO FESTIVAL & STUDENT 
COMPETITION, Sept. 20-23, will concentrate on 
TV regulation and deregulation for its 1984 pro- 
gramming theme. Festival's primary goal is to 
bring members of the media community together to 
exchange ideas & information; concurrent national 
student competition is held to encourage young 
videomakers in light of the changing face of the 
medium. Regional winners in student competition 
receive video cameras; national winners receive V* " 
field decks & trip to the festival. Winning entries 
aired on LA & Washington PTV. This year, some 
work will be screened as part of the Olympic Arts 
Festival in LA. Festival's program is mainly obtain- 
ed through AFI's established network of national 
contacts, but interested producers can call festival 
associate director, Jackie Kain. Student com- 
petition accepts % " fiction, non-fiction & ex- 
perimental videotapes; entry fee $5. Deadline: May 
1 . Contact: Jackie Kain, American Film Institute, 
PO Box 27999, 2021 North Western Ave., Los 
Angeles CA 90027; (213) 856-7787. 

• NEW ENGLAND FILM FESTIVAL, May, pre- 
viously announced in March issue, has told FIVF 
that the Boston Globe has agreed to sponsor the in- 
augural screening in May. Prize money has been in- 
creased from $1,000 to $2500, including a $1000 
Best in Fest prize. Deadline has been extended from 
March 13 to April 16. 

• THE FIFTH ANNUAL ASBURY FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 12-13, now part of Asbury Pro- 
ductions, a small film & video company, is accept- 
ing 16mm optical track prints, no longer than 20 
min., in all categories: dramatic, animated, ex- 
perimental, documentary. This is not an awards 
program but a chance for indies to screen projects 
in front of producers, critics, fellow filmmakers 
and the public. Entry Fee: $10. Deadline: April 30. 
Contact: Doug Le Claire, Asbury Productions 
Ltd., 590 Rutland St., Westbury NY; (212) 
679-7199. 

• PSA-MPD AMERICAN INT'L FILM FESTI- 
VAL, August, proposes to improve amateur & stu- 
dent filmmaking by recognizing young filmmakers 
at the annual PSA convention. Awards presented 
to scenario, documentary, experimental, travel, 
humor & nature films. Students, amateurs, profes- 
sionals judged separately in S-8, 8 & 16mm film, 
max 30 min. (Acceptance of video still undecided.) 
Entry fees: PSA member $10/non-member $15. 
Deadline: May 15. Contact: James Meeker, 
Photographic Society of America-Motion Picture 

APRIL 19B4 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Division, 1329 Hilltop Drive, Milan 1L 61264; (309) 
787-1291. 

• SAN FRANCISCO INT'L LESBIAN & GAY 
FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 18-24, is held 
each year during San Francisco's Lesbian/Gay 
Freedom Celebration. Event brings together best in 
feature, documentary, short & avant-garde films 
from across the country. Film festival accepts only 
work about lesbians & gay men in S-8, 16 & 35mm, 
while the video section will accept work on any 
theme or subject if maker is gay. Vi ", 3 A " videotape 
accepted. Video festival includes traveling exhibi- 
tion; entrants may participate in showings on 
metropolitan cable systems. Awards will be 
presented to network news stations for sensitive 
handling of gay issues in the media. Film deadline: 
May 1 . Film contact: John Wright or Michael Lum- 
pkin, FRAMELINE, P.O. Box 14792, San Fran- 
cisco CA 94114; (415) 861-5245. Video deadline: 
May 31. Video contact: John Canaly, FRAME- 
LINE, 182-B Castro St, San Francisco CA 94114; 
(415) 861-0843. 

• SINKING CREEK FILM CELEBRATION, 
June 12-16, probes aspects of non-commercial 
cinema through seminars, screenings, workshops, 
guest presentations & sessions in film analysis & 
criticism. A longtime favorite of independent pro- 
ducers, the 15th annual conference on film will 
once again bring the best 16mm independent & stu- 
dent work to Tennessee. Prizes total $6000. Entry 
fees— up to 10 min: $5; 10-20 min: $10; 20-40 min: 
$15; 40-60 min: $20. Deadline: May 8. Contact: 
Mary Jane Coleman, Creekside Farm, Route 8, 
Greeneville TN 37743; (615) 638-6524. Those in- 
terested in attending the festival should contact 
SCFC, Sarratt Student Center, Vanderbilt Univer- 
sity, Nashville TN 37240; (614) 322-2471. 

• WES FRANCIS AUDIOVISUAL EXCEL- 
LENCE (WAVE} CONTEST, October, honors 
audiovisual productions on parks, recreation, 
leisure activities & conservation effort. 16mm, 3 A " 
video and single projector slide shows accepted. 
Awards presented at the Nat'l Recreation & Parks 
Assn. Convention. No fee. Deadline: May 31 . Con- 
tact: Martha Nutel, Nat'l Recreation and Park 
Assn., 31-01 Park Center Drive, Alexandria VA 
22303; (703) 820-4940. 

• WORKS BY WOMEN, October, shows 
women's films over two days as diverse as Maya 
Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, Connie Field's 
Rosie the Riveter & Lee Grant's Tell Me a Riddle. 
Past speakers have included Amy Greenfield, Pam 
Yates & author Ann Kaplan. Among 1983 entries 
was So Far From India, a film by Mira Nair, also 
screened at the New York Film Festival. Send 
16mm film or Vt " videotape. No fee. Deadline: 
May 31. Contact: Christine Bickford, Media Ser- 
vices, Barnard College Library, Broadway at 1 17th 
St, NY NY 10027; (212) 280-2418. 



Foreign 



• BULGARIAN INT'L FESTIVAL OF COME- 
DY & SATIRICAL FILMS, May, seeks to stimu- 
late cinema presentation of humor & satire in serv- 
ice of human progress. Awards, fees & film gauges 
not specified. (Event first held in 1981 & said to be 
triennial. Contact before sending material.) 
Deadline: May. Contact: Stefan Futounov, House 
of Humor and Satire, P.O. Box 104, 5300 
Gabrovo, Bulgaria; tel: (066) 2-72-29, 2-93-00. 

• INT'L FESTIVAL OF ECONOMICS & 
TRAINING FILMS, November, acquaints public 

APRIL 1984 




500 members of the Little People of America gather in 
Little People, shown at Margaret Mead, 
with film & video as aids to teaching^ training. 
Economics & training films in S-8/ 1 6mm require 
no fee. Deadline: May. Contact: Didier Cloos, 
President, Cercle Solvay, Avenue Franklin 
Roosevelt 48, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium; tel: (02) 
6490030, X2528. 

• INT'L FESTIVAL OF NEW SUPERS 
CINEMA, August, provides showcase focusing 
primarily on new S-8 filmmakers. Festival is well- 
publicized in Venezuela, conducts daytime 
workshops & evening parties at mountainside 
villas. Large audiences view the competition night- 
ly; participating filmmaker Fernando Birri once 
proclaimed the festival the "Cannes of Super-8." 
Winning filmmakers receive approximately $1500 
& opportunity to show work on French TV. Fur- 
ther information available from AIVF member 
Toni Treadway, 63 Dimick St, Somerville MA 
02143; (617) 666-3372. No fee; entrant pays $10 for 
return postage. Deadline: early July. Contact: 
Carlos & Lisette Castillo, Calle Passo Real, Quinta 
Linda, Prados del Este, Caracas Venezuela; tel: 
(582)771-367. 

• LA ROCHELLE FILM FESTIVAL, June- July, 
promotes non-commercial films as part of a larger 
arts festival supported by the French government. 
Event is non-competitive & accepts 16 & 35mm 
features. No fee; entrant pays postage. Deadline: 
May. Contact: Jean-Loup Passek, 4 rue de la Paix, 
75002 Paris, France; Tel: (1) 260-72-21, 296-23-44. 





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• OVIEDOINT'L VIDEOFILM FESTIVAL, Ju- 
ly, will promote general culture in Spain through 
the "videofilm." Shows wide variety of categories 
including musical, artistic, documentary 
videotapes & "films recorded in videocassette" in 
such genres as adventure, action, western, detective 
story, play, drama, war, thriller & fantasy. First 
prize in each category awarded $900. No fee. 
U-Matic tape only. Amateur video competition 
awards up to $350 & accepts Vi " video systems. 
Deadline: May 31 . Contact: Isaac del Rivero, Salon 
Int'l de Videocine de Oviedo, Nueve de Mayo, 
2-1 °A, Oviedo, Spain; tel: (985) 22 10 96/97/98, 
ext. 30. 

• TOULON INT'L FESTIVAL OF MARITIME 
& SEA EXPLORATION, May, requests films on 
the theme "The Sea of Maritime Exploration," in- 
cluding travel, research, biology, archaeology, 
geology, marine ethnography, seasports. Films 



may be feature or documentary; 16 or 35mm. Gold, 
silver, bronze "Anchors" awarded with modest 
cash prizes. Deadline: May 1. Contact: Secretariat 
of the Festival, 14 The Peiresc, 83000 Toulon, 
France. 



• WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, June en- 
courages & promotes widespread interest in new 
films which would otherwise not be brought to New 
Zealand. This non-competitive festival invites films 
from many countries which contribute to a knowl- 
edge of new styles & trends in filmmaking. Wel- 
lington will only present films which have been 
shown at a recognized festival outside New 
Zealand. 35mm only. No fee; entrant pays postage. 
Deadline: April-May. (Those interested should 
write ASAP.) Contact: Bill Godsden, Wellington 
Film Festival, P.O. Box 9544, Courtenay Place, 
Wellington, New Zealand. ■ 



(continued from page 21) 

because they pushed the smaller distributors, 
like Unifilm, out of the business. So now 
those small ones don't exist as an outlet for 
the independent filmmaker. But they'll come 
back. It's cyclical. The demise of the classics 
divisions — and this is going to happen — will 
make room again for smaller independent 
distributors. It'll take a couple of years. 

SL: Do you think the demise of the classics 
will push prices up or down in terms of the 
bidding for independent films? 

BB: I think it will put prices into realistic 
terms. The top films — which aren't that 
many — will always command a high price. 
The secondary film may not get as much 
money, but it might be handled better. But if 
the film is unsuccessful, the situation will be 
worse for the filmmaker, because he will not 
have gotten [a large] advance to begin 



with — and quite often the advance is all he's 
going to see. 

SL: How do you devise a marketing strategy 
for an independent film? 

BB: The first and most difficult thing is to 
figure out who your audience is. Everything 
follows from that. Only Hollywood films 
don't have to do that, because they have so 
much money to spend reaching a broad au- 
dience. But when you're dealing with a small 
film, and you can't spend a lot of money, you 
have to target. It's probably the most sensitive 
thing in opening — other than the most 
mysterious factor, which is timing. There are 
certain films which, if they had opened six 
months later, could not have made it. Or they 
opened too early. There are always shifts in 
audience taste, and they're perceptible, but 
only over a period of time. 

Your "strategy" often depends on one 
publication. You work two months to prepare 




"Ewe seemed to like it— but what did the Times say?' 



26 



APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



a film, do campaigns and interviews, and then 
you say, "Tomorrow when I open, if I get a 
good review in the [New York] Times I'm OK; 
if I don't, I'm dead." So what "strategy" can 
you develop? You might say, "OK, I'll open 
out of town first." So you open out of town 
and do well; but then when you try to sell the 
film to an exhibitor he'll say, "What did it do 
in New York?" And you say, "It did well in 
Seattle." He'll say, "I don't care about that. 
What are the [New York] reviews like?" It's a 
very sad state. 

It may sound cynical, but the biggest sheep 
are the intellectuals. The general audience will 
look at a poster and say, "Hey, this looks 
good, let's go in and see it." The supposed 
"thinking" people will say, "What did the 
Times say?" That's always galled me. And it's 
not the fault of the Times; it's the fault of all 
those people who invest a few publications 
with enormous power to make or break some- 
thing that has taken somebody years to make. 

SL: Whose job is it to cultivate the press — the 
distributor's, the filmmaker's, or the 
publicist's? 

BB: Quite a few of the critics are friends of 
mine. But it does not help. I just opened A 
Woman in Flames and my friend Rex Reed 
said in his review, "It's having a brief stop at 
the Plaza on its way to oblivion." Some film- 
makers think, "Oh, you can cultivate [the 
critics]." If they don't like your film, you 
can't cultivate anything. The most you can 
possibly do, if it's within their power, is to get 
them not to review a film if they don't like it. 

The problem is often utilizing media ex- 
posure to translate into box office. This is a 
very important element for independents and 
it's why they don't quite understand festivals. 
Most festivals are really harmful to film- 
makers. If you have a chance to sell your film 
to a distributor, you should never put it into a 
festival. It can only have negative results. If 
the film is received badly, it kills your 
distribution deal. If it's received well, but you 
don't have a distributor to open it, you're not 
prepared to take advantage of the press. So 
there's really no advantage, outside of the 
ego. And there are so many meaningless 
festivals — Chicago, Filmex — it's nonsense! 
They do themselves a service, they are 
generally set up by a few people trying to 
create jobs for themselves — not to serve film. 
It's only if you've gone to everyone and 
nobody wants your film that the festival can 
be positive. The New York Film Festival is an 
exception to this, because of the festival's 
prestige. But if you get a really terrible review 
[there], it can kill your chances. If you're go- 
ing to be in the New York Film Festival, make 
your deal before the film is shown, unless you 
know the reviews are going to be good. 

Another thing I always suggest to indepen- 
dent filmmakers is that they put aside $50,000 
in their budget in case they cannot get a 
distributor or the proper deal from a 
distributor, so that they can then open their 
film themselves. With that kind of money you 
APRIL 1984 



can get a proper New York opening. But do- 
it-yourself openings should only be used as a 
last resort. 

SL: I think Seeing Red is being opened by the 
filmmakers themselves at the New Yorker. 

BB: If they're opening it to make money, 
they're deluding themselves. But if they're 
opening it to get reviews so they can sell it 
non-theatrically, that's fine. You have to 
know what you're going after. 

The biggest danger of opening here is to 
overspend. With a documentary, you should 
spend as little as possible. Spending more 
money isn't going to get more people in to see 
it. Documentaries are, by their nature, so 
damn difficult; people just don't want to see 
them. 

SL: How important is choosing a theater in 
building an audience? 



BB: It's more crucial from the standpoint of 
economics, because some theaters cost more 
than others. And it's more crucial to how ex- 
hibitors around the country perceive the film 
than it is to building an audience. You can 
open at the Waverly and be very successful, 
but exhibitors will say, "Oh, that's a Village 
theater." If you open at Cinema I, they say, 
"It must be an important film." It's one of 
those stupidities. 

SL: How do you determine advances? 

BB: Negotiable, on a film-by-film basis. But 
there are quite a few films I would not give ad- 
vances to. Most of them. Look, this whole 
business is really a game of power. Either you 
are begging a distributor to take your film, or 
the distributor is begging you to give it to him. 
So you meet somewhere in-between. It all de- 
pends on who holds the power. ■ 



NOTICES 



NOTICES are listed free of 
charge. AIVF members receive 
first priority; others included as 
space permits. Send notices to 
THE INDEPENDENT, do FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New 



York NY 10012. For further info, 
call ((212) 473-3400. Deadline: 
8th of second preceding month 
(e.g. April 8th for June). Edited 
by Mary Guzzy. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

• FOR SALE: 16mm Moviola upright editing 
machine. New sound head; very good condition. 1 
picture, 1 sound head. $1200. Call: (212) 
228-6709/(516) 734-6774, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Angenieux 12-240mm f4.5 lens 
w/finder in case; cap, 3 filters, shade, tripod sup- 
port, wrench. $2900. Angenieux 12-1 20mm T2.5 
Arri mount w/case. $600. 3 Arri-S mags. $200/ea. 
Arri-BL mag. $750. Mitchell-type mags. $60/ea. 
Call: (212) 236-0153, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm Auricon Cine- Voice Conver- 
sion w/TVT shutter; new sync motor, 1 400 ' mag, 
case, accessories. Capable of magnet or double 
system sound. $500. Contact: Michael, Millennium 
Film Workshop, (212) 673-0090, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Camera package. CP Reflex 



SPECIAL THANKS 

FIVF gratefully thanks 

the following Individuals 

for contributions to the 

organization . 

Richard A. Armstrong, Dayton, OH 
Challis Lyon, Bethesda, MD 
Nancy Schrelber, NY, NY 
Sinking Creek Film Celebration, 
Greenevllle, TN 
Michelle Parkerson, 
Washington, DC 
Merry Vallk, Philadelphia, PA 
Richard Gordon, Philadelphia, PA 



w/single system amp, 9.5-57mm Angenieux, 3 
mags, 2 batteries, 2 chargers, 1 1200 'mag; 150mm, 
300mm & 400mm Kilfit lenses, tripod. Plus Nagra 
SN, several mics, 60 circle crystal & resolver. $6000. 
Call: (212) 532-1673, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 6008 Pro, Schneider 6-70 
fl.4 zoom, Century Precision 3.5mm super wide 
fl.4, batteries, external packs, charger, numerous 
Tiffin filters, CSS-1 crystal cassette 
recorder/resolver. All like new, $2900 firm. 
Panasonic WV-3230-12X Pro-line video camera, 
NV-8420 VHS recorder, JVC TM-P3U 3 " monitor, 
batteries, chargers, etc. Brand new; only 1 test roll 
through. $2350 firm. Contact: Don Hoskins, 1424 
SE 15 St., Ft. Lauderdale FL 33316, (305) 
463-1275. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 6008 Pro w/Schneider 
6-70 fl.4 lens, 2 large rechargeable battery packs 
w/recharging unit. Like new. Sekonic System 
meter L-428 w/Lumisphere, Lumidisc, Lumigrid. 
leather case, neck cord & Movie Dial. Never used. 
Contact: Karyl-Lynn, (202) 686-0898, DC. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 Rex 4, 18-86mm 2.5 
Kern Vario Switar EE, pistol grip, Rexofader, ex- 
tension tubes, Uni-motor B, slate, case. Excellent 
condition; $1600. Call: (212) 475-1915, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Uher Monitor 4400 tape recorder 
(report). Sync possible. Never used. Stereo, mic & 
battery recharger. Contact: Silkel Krikor, (212) 
441-3615, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Beaulieu 5008 sound/multKpeed 
S-8 camera, Schneider 6-70mm zoom, lens inter- 
changeability, battery recharger, plug adapter, 
manual. Recently overhauled, excellent condition; 
$699. Call: (212) 675-7534, NY. 

27 



THE INDEPENDENT 



PRINCIPLES & RESOLUTIONS 
OF THE ASSOCIATION 



AIVF FOUNDING PRINCIPLES 



1. The Association is a trade association 
of and for independent video and film- 
makers. 

2. The Association encourages ex- 
cellence, commitment and independence; 
it stands for the principle that video and 
filmmaking is more than just a job — it 
goes beyond economics to involve the ex- 
pression of broad human values. 

.?. The Association works, though the 
combined efforts of its membership, to 
provide practical, informational and 
moral support for independent video and 
filmmakers and is dedicated to ensuring 
the survival of, and providing for, the 
continuing growth of independent video 
and filmmaking. 

4. The Association does not limit its sup- 
port to one genre, ideology or aesthetic, 
but furthers diversity of vision in artistic 
and social consciousness. 

5. The Association champions indepen- 
dent video and film as valuable and vital 
expressions of our culture and is deter- 
mined, by mutual action, to open path- 
ways toward exhbition of this work to the 
community at large. 



A 1VFRESOLU TlONS 



1. To affirm the creative use of media in 
fostering cooperation, community and 
justice in human relationships without 
respect to age, sex, race, class or religion. 

2. To recognize and reaffirm the freedom 
of expression of the independent film and 
videomaker, as spelled out in the AIVF 
principles. 

3. To promote constructive dialogue and 
heightened awareness among the 
membership of the social, artistic and per- 
sonal choices involved in the pursuit of 
both independent and sponsored work, 
via such mechanisms as screenings and 
forums. 

4. To continue to work to strengthen 
AIVF 's services to independents, in order 
to help reduce the membership's 
dependence on the kinds of sponsorship 
which encourage the compromise of per- 
sonal values. 



• FOR SALE: 2 16mm b&w or color Peterson 
printing machines w/fader units & sound heads. 
Excellent condition, like new. Reasonable price. 
Contact: J&D Lab, (212) 691-5613, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Moviola M86 flattfed editor, 
flicker-free prism, low wow & flutter, quick stop 
circuit, torque motor box. 3 yrs. old, excellent con- 
dition. Fair price. Contact: Ron, (617) 354-6054, 
MA. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck; old but good, re- 
built w/additional amplifier & speaker: $6000 or 
best offer. Call: (212) 765-8860, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 camera, Wollensak 
25mm-1.9 lens, Solgar 17mm wide-angle 2.7 lens, 
Kodak Anastigmatice 2.7-102mm lens, $300. Pan 
Cinor Berthi.ot VarioSwitar 17-85mm zoom 
w/viewfinder, $7000. Bolex 16mm Matte Box, 
$125. Bolex 16mm motor w/battery box at dif- 
ferent speeds for hand crank, $60. A S-8 synchro- 
nizer, $125. Hahnel S-8 splicer, $35. Call: (212) 
677-2181/924-2254, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm upright Moviola. Excellent 
condition; takes single-spliced film. 1 picture head; 
2 sound heads. Save on flatbed rentals; it will pay 
for itself. Call: (212) 666-6787, leave message, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Complete broadcast quality pro- 
duction pkg. Includes Ikegami HL-83, Vt" JVC 
4700U, color Videotek monitor, wave-form, mics, 
lights & tripod. Production personnel also 
available. Competitive rates. Contact: Everglade 
Prods., (212) 925-1247, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Panasonic 3990 camera w/bat- 
teries, recharger, 10-14 pin cable converter, hard & 
soft cases. $1500 or best offer. Contact: Alan, (212) 
222-3 32 1/Caryn, (212) 222-6748, NY. 

• FOR RENT: New Sony M-3 camera w/3 tubes, 
4800 deck, batteries, monitor, tripod, mics, cables 
& Lowell lighting. Very portable; $250/day 
w/cameraperson. Contact: Alan, (212) 
222-3321 /Caryn, (212) 222- 6748, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Ikegami HL-79A, BVU 1 10, lights, 
mics, insurance. $450/day. Radio mics, car, sun- 
guns, crew additional as required. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212)473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Tektronix waveform monitor, 
$650. Panasonic NV-9300A. $900. JVC 4400 por- 
table Vi ". $1200. Frezzolini battery belts, 6AH. 
$125. Sharp 13" monitor receiver. $300. JVC KY 
2000. $2400. Contact: SoHo Video, (212)473-6947, 
NY. 

• FOR SALE: Sony 366 reel-to-reel 7" tape deck. 
Quartertrack stereo, 3 heads, new belts, rollers, 
playback head, edit feature. Nagra compatible. 
Best offer. Call (212) 548-2875 evenings 6-10pm, 

NY. 

• FOR RENT: Sunny, attractive offices, furnished 
or unfurnished w/private entrances. Near west 
Village. 1, 2, & 3 room suites. Additional con- 
ference/screening room & office equipment 
available to share. Very high floor, excellent 
panoramic views, small terraces, air conditioning. 
24 hr. building, excellent security. Sublet. 
Reasonable. Call: (212) 206-1213, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Broadcast ENG gear w/Ikegami 
cameras & BVU 1 10, all accessories & experienced 



28 



crew. Also, Vt " computer editing. Contact, Lisa, 
Metro Video, (212) 608-6005, NY. 

• FOR SALE OR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck. Call: 
(212) 581-2365, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra SN recorder & Cody design- 
ed radio transmitter system that starts recorder & 
slates, takes up to 100 ft. from camera. SN resolver, 
SRM level control, numerous cables & SN tape in- 
clkuded. Innovative system for unobtrusive 
documentarian. Excellent condition, $3200. Con- 
tact: Ken Levine, 720 W. Blaine, Seattle WA 981 19, 
(206) 285-3057. 

• FOR RENT: } A " Sony deck & 19 " Panasonic col- 
or TV monitor on Tollable stand with necessary 
cables; for non-profit purposes. $35/day or 
$100/wk. Payment in advance. No transport: you 
pick it up, bring it back. Contact: AIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th Fir., NY NY 10012, (212) 473-3400. 

Conferences • Workshops 

• INPUT: International Public Television Screen- 
ing Conference, annual forum for producers & pro- 
grammers to exchange ideas on quality of public 
television. April 8-14, Francis Marion Hotel, 
Charleston SC. 300 participants from 20-30 coun- 
tries. Formal accreditation necessary; no charge to 
delegates. Other TV professionals & independents 
welcome. Contact: Carolyn Holderman, SC-ETV 
Network, PO Drawer L, Columbia SC 29250, (803) 
758-7552. 

• CERTIFICATE IN TELEVISION STUDIES: 
Available from New School for Social Research for 
concentrated studies in television & new tech- 
nologies, production & writing, performance & 
marketing. Internships & independent study avail- 
able. Some courses offered in cooperation 
w/Global Village, NY National Academy of TV 
Arts & Sciences & Channels magazine. Contact: 
Mary Carney Blake, Television Program Advisor, 
(212)741-8903, NY. 

• WORKSHOPS AT COLLECTIVE FOR LIV- 
ING CINEMA: Beginning Filmmaking, April 
30- June 13, 7-10:30 pm Mon. & Wed. S-8 cameras 
provided for entire 7-wk. course. Instructor: Dar- 
rell Wilson. $150. Intermediate Filmmaking, May 
1-June 14, 7-10:30 pm Mon. & Wed. S-8 equip- 
ment provided. Instructor: Alan Berliner. $125. 
Weekend Workshops: All $85. 16mm Basics, Sat. 
& Sun. April 28 & 29 & Sat., May 5, 12-6 pm. Film 
& equipment provided. Instructor: John Murphy. 
Lighting, Sat. & Sun. May 12 & 13 & Sat. May 19, 
12-6 pm. Instructor: Mark Daniels. Sound Recor- 
ding, Sat. & Sun. June 2 & 3, 10-6 pm. Instructor: 
Helene Kaplan. Optical Printing, Sat. June 9, 10-6 
pm & Tues. June 12, 7-10 pm. Instructor: Bill 
Brand. Editing Techniques, Sat. & Sun. June 16 & 
17, 10-6 pm. Instructor: Alan Berliner. Discounts 
for taking multiple workshops & 10% discounts for 
Collective members. Call: CLC, (212) 925-3926, 
NY. 

• SPRING WORKSHOPS AT YOUNG 
FILMAKERS/ VIDEO ARTS: Professional 
instruction in film/video production & theory 
designed for both novices & professionals. Course 
lengths range from weekend workshops to 12-wk. 
programs including Documentary, Location & TV 
Production, Directing for Camera, Lighting, 
Audio, Film & Video Editing, Screenwriting & 
Videodance. Equipment rentals & post-production 
facilities available for independent producers, ar- 
tists & non-profit groups at low cost. Free brochure 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



available. Contact: YF/VA, (212) 673-9361, 
weekdays 10 am-6 pm, NY. 

• NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM SEMINAR: 
"From Daytime to Prime Time: An Overview of 
Television Production in New York" presents 
leading industry figures discussing opportunities in 
entertainment, soaps, news & sports. Young pro- 
fessional men & women especially invited. Thurs- 
day, April 16. Contact: NYWIF, P.O. Box 652, 
Ansonia Sta., NY NY 10023, or Emily Sc.uires, 
(212) 866-8359. 

• WOMEN MAKE MOVIES WORKSHOPS: 
Budgeting for Film & Video, Apr. 5; Film 
Graphics, Apr. 19. Evening sessions at Taller 
Latinoamericano, 19 W. 21st St., 7:30, J2/WMM 
members, $4/non-members. April 7-8, Vt " Video 
Editing Intensive: weekend workshops offering 
theory & technique of video editing, hands-on ex- 
perience with SONY RM440, 5850 decks, character 
generator, SEG, Audio Mix Board. Enrollment 
limited, S65/WMM members, $80/non-members. 
Apr. 28, Intro to Video: a day-long basic course in 
Vi " production, theory & hands-on experience. 
Enrollment limited, S15/WMM members, 
$25/non-members. Call WMM to register for video 
editing & production only: (212) 929-6477. 

• INTERNA TIONAL DISTRIBUTION & MAR- 
KETING FOR INDEPENDENTS: all-day seminar 
sponsored by Astoria Motion Picture & Television 
Foundation & American Film Marketing Associa- 
tion, Sat., April 14, 9:30 am-5pm at Astoria Foun- 
dation. Representatives of 14 major distribution 
companies including MGM/UA Home Video, 
ABC Pictures International, Orion & Satori will 
participate. 8 additional speakers on topics such as 
licensing, high profits from low budgets, develop- 
ing technologies, pr & sales promotion. $75 fee 
covers seminar plus lunch. Contact: Astoria Foun- 
dation, 34-31 35th St., Astoria NY 11106, (212) 
784-4520. 

Editing Facilities 

• EDITING SPACE FOR RENT in Brooklyn: 
16mm 6-plate Moviola w/2 synchronizers, 
4-channel amp, 2 rivas splicers, rewinds, split reels, 
trim bin, Moviola upright, etc. Very low rates. 
Call: (212) 236-0153, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Editing room w/16mm 6-plate 
flickerless Moviola. In-house rental only. 16-hr. ac- 
cess, upper West Side location. $25/day , $ 1 50/wk. , 
$500/mo. Contact: Rondo Productions, (212) 
496-7244, NY. 

• LARGE EDIT ROOM w/6-plate Steenbeck. 
Windows, carpet, phone, access to video deck, 
copy machine, etc. Contact: Bob McBride, Earth- 
rise, 330 West 42 St., NY NY 10036, (212) 
594-6967. 

• MEDIA ARTS CENTER at South Carolina Arts 
Commission offers low-cost access for south- 
eastern independent videomakers working on low- 
budget non-commercial projects. Sony V05800, 
V05850 & RM440 V* " system includes 2 Videotek 
RM-12 color monitors, blue gun, underscan & 
cross-pulse, Tascam Model 30 8-channel sound 
mixer w/amps & speakers. 24 hr. access, sleeping, 
kitchen & shower facilities. $50/day. Call: (803) 
758-7942, 8:30 am-5 pm Mon.-Fri., SC. 

• EDITING ROOM: Fully equipped w/6-plate 
flatbed Moviola, bins, synchronizer, viewer & 
splicer. Near Greenwich Village west. High floor, 

APRIL 1984 



panoramic view, small terrace. Confer- 
ence/screening room to share. Also available for 
sublet: office & office equipment. 24 hr. building, 
excellent security, reasonable. Call: (2 1 2) 206- 1 21 3 , 
NY. 

• TWO COMPLETE EDITING ROOMS in Chel- 
sea: (a) 24-hr. access: Moviola flatbed w/torque 
motor box; complete 16mm edit equipment; com- 
plete kitchen & bathroom; minimal office facilities; 
telephone; air conditioning. (b)10am-6pm access; 
Steenbeck; complete 16mm edit equipment; ltd. 
kitchen, bath facilities; specialized edit equipment 
available at extra cost. Contact: David Loucka, 
Lance Bird, (212) 584-7530, NY. 

• EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION FACILI- 
TIES AVAILABLE: Short-term rentals only. 9am- 
5pm business days, KEM 8-plate 16/35mm, 3 A " 
editing, sound transfer, narration recording, exten- 
sive sound effects library, interlock screening. Con- 
tact: Cinetudes Film Productions, 295 West 4 St., 
NY NY 10014; (212) 966-4600. 

• BRODSKY & TREAD WA Y S-8 & 8MM FILM- 
TO-VIDEO TRANSFER MASTERS: Scene-by- 
scene density & total color correction, variable 
speed & freeze frame, sound from any source. Art- 
ists & broadcasters like our work. By appointment 
only. Call (617) 666-3372, MA. 

• STEENBECKS FOR RENT: Moderately priced 
by the month. Delivered to your workspace. 
Prompt repairs included. Call: Paul, (212) 
316-2913, NY. 

• LARGE COMFORTABLE EDITING ROOM 
w/KEM 8-plate Universal editing table, 16mm & 
35mm, rewinds, bins, splicers, synchronizers, etc., 
private phone; additional office space available. 
Midtown location. Call: Errol Morris Films, 1697 
Broadway, NY NY 10019, (212) 757-7478/ 
582-4045. 

• REGULAR & S-8 FILM-TO-VIDEO TRANS- 
FER: Professional quality, industrial or broadcast; 
much better than you've seen before. Contact: 
Landy, 400 East 83 St. #4A, NY NY 10028; (212) 
734-1402. 

• SONY BVU 3 A" EDITING: $25/hr. w/editor. 
Contact: Kathy Abbott/Karen Ranucci, (212) 
242-2320, NY. 

• EDITOR OF A CADEMY A WARD-nom\mted 
documentary now cuts V* " video off-line. JVC 
decks w/FM dub, Cezar IVC microprocessor con- 
troller, special effects keyer & colorizer, fade to 
black, waveform & pulse cross monitor, b&w 
graphics camera w/animation stand & titling 
system, mics, turntable, audio cassette, VHS time 
code burn in. $25/hr. for projects under $3500. 
Contact: Bruce Ettinger, (212) 226-8489, NY. 

• SELF-SERVICE EDITING: V* " JVC 
Tapehandlers, RM-88U editor, free instruction. 
$20/hr. Transfers, dubs, etc. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212)473-6947, NY. 

• MOVIOLA M-77s FOR RENT: $500/mo. in 
your workspace. 15% discount to AIVF members. 
Contact: Philmaster Productions, (212) 873-4470, 
NY. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

• GFV VIDEO seeks features for video distribu- 
tion in Germany, Switzerland & Austria. Mainly in- 



An audio production 
facility for artists. 
At PASS, independent 
artists produce audio 
for film and video works, 
dance, performance art, 
theatre and radio. 

Services include: 

• 4 and 8 track recording 

• Workshops 

• Analog and digital 
synthesizers 

• 3 M" video viewing 

• Artist in Residence 

Call us for information 
212 206-1680 
16 W. 22nd St. (902) 
New York, IMY 10010 







Video Cassette Duplication 
16mm Editing Rooms 



Interlock Screening Rooi 



aned. Optically Tested. 1 
GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 
3/4' Used Video cassettes 

NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



FRESH (»• anip en neat bus/plane eel) 

Scotch 'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 



475-7884 



29 



THE INDEPENDENT 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



MARYGUZZY 

Despite a decidedly conservative shift in 
the policies of arts funding agencies and 
other politically sensitive entities, inde- 
pendent film and video projects that tackle 
controversial social and political issues 
from an alternative perspective continue to 
gain audiences and recognition. 





Choose Life: "A frankly pro-piece, pro-activist film" 
that's optimistic about the future. 

Current releases by AIVF independents 
embroider upon the themes of disarma- 
ment and human rights. Filmmakers John 
Bishop and Robbie Leppzer of Media 
Generation have completed Choose Life, a 
10-minute 16mm film intended for use by 
grassroots peace organizers and as a short 
subject to accompany longer films. 
Choose Life mixes interviews and music 
from the June 12 rally to create a frankly 
pro-peace, pro-activist film that is positive 
about the prospects for disarmament. 
Choose Life is distributed by Green Moun- 
tain Post. 

Personas Desplazadas: The Miskito In- 
dian Refugees presents another aspect of 
the plight of indigenous peoples caught in 
the middle of ideological power struggles 
in Central America. This time it's the 
Miskito Indians of northeastern Nicara- 
gua. Displaced to Honduras by internal 
pressures caused by the Sandinista revolu- 
tion, these 12,000 refugees have become 
the focus of further pressure from US- 
backed artti-Sandinista forces who wish to 
use the Miskito situation to sway political 
opinion against the Nicaraguan govern- 
ment. Produced and directed by John 
Caldwell, the 25-minute color videotape 
was shot on location on the Nicara- 
guan/Honduras border and includes 
footage of Miskito refugee camps, resettle- 
ment villages, foreign relief agency ac- 
30 



Caught in the middle: Miskito Indians speak out in 
John Caldwell's Personas Desplazadas. 

tivities including those of the UN, and in- 
terviews with campesinos, Nicaraguan of- 
ficials and US military officers. Personas 
Desplazadas was broadcast in January on 
WTTW-Ch 11, Chicago after an October 
premiere at the Center for New Television. 
It is distributed by Video Data Bank, 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

HISTOR Y LESSONS 

In the midst of the headlong rush to get 
where we're going, several independents 
have created projects that remind us of 
where we've been: 

After four years of archival film re- 
search with support from the New York 
Council on Humanities, the Pew Founda- 
tion and the now-defunct Independent 
Documentary Fund, Tom Johnson and 
Lance Bird (No Place to Hide) have com- 
pleted The World of Tomorrow, a 
77-minute documentary about the 1939 
NY World's Fair. The film examines social 
forces and ideals — symbolized and some- 
times masked by the Fair — which shaped 
the America of 1939 and our world today. 
With original footage from promotional 
films made by the Fair Corporation, 
newsreels, home movies and films used in 
actual Fair exhibitions, World of Tomor- 
row seeks to open a filmic time capsule, 
placing the Fair in a larger national and 
historical context. The film, which opened 
at NY's Film Forum on March 7, will also 
be screened at the Art Institute/Chicago 
and the Hirschorn Museum in Washing- 
ton, DC. A PBS airing is slated for 
mid- 1984. Johnson and Bird are especially 
pleased that World of Tomorrow has been 
selected to open the 1984 Atlanta Film 
Festival on April 6. 

Producer/director Ross Spears (Agee) 
has released his 90-minute documentary 
on the turbulent history of the Tennessee 
Valley Authority. Entitled The Electric 
Valley, the film depicts the far-reaching 
impact of this huge government energy 
project begun in the Depression as a social 
experiment designed to create a new pros- 
perity in the impoverished Tennessee Val- 
ley. The film traces the TVA's history 
from the idealism of its early days to its 
vilification as a polluter of the environ- 



ment and hotbed of political corruption to 
the current spirit of reform within the 
agency, focusing on all those — from 
farmers and workers to songwriters and 
politicians — who were touched by the 
project. Spears made The Electric Valley 
for $250,000. He is currently in pre- 
production for a documentary about the 
Civil War. 

A Little Rebellion Now and Then: Pro- 
logue to the Constitution, a docudrama in- 
tended to remind Americans of our long 
legacy of dissidence, is in pre-production 
at Cambridge-based Calliope Film Re- 
sources. The half-hour film will reenact 
and document Shay's rebellion, the post- 
Revolutionary War tax revolt against the 
fledgling American government which 
directly influenced the framing of the Con- 
stitution. Filmmakers Randall Conrad and 
Christine Dall (The Dozens) received a 
$50,000 production grant from the 
Massachusetts Foundation for Humanities 
and Public Policy in January. Production 
will begin in August, and A Little 
Rebellion is scheduled for completion in 
February, 1985. The film's budget is ex- 
pected to total $100,000. Conrad and Dall 
also have long-range plans to produce a 
feature drama about Shay's Rebellion; a 
draft of the screenplay is already in the 
works. 

MOVING ON 

Meanwhile, several projects previously 
reported in these pages have not been idl- 
ing on the shelf: 

Peter Kinoy of Skylight Pictures reports 
that Nicaragua: Report from the Front, 
written and directed by Deborah Shaffer, 
Tom Sigel and Pam Yates received such an 
enthusiastic reception at the Film Forum 
in New York that it was moved, along with 
When the Mountains Tremble — another 




The World of Tomorrow: Electro the Moto Man and his 
mechanical dog Sparko at the 1939 World's Fair. 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Skylight production— to the Agee Room 
at the Bleecker St. Cinema. Following this, 
the films will go into national distribution. 

Seeing Red, a documentary about the 
early days of the American Communist 
Party, produced by James Klein and Julia 
Reichert, has been nominated for an 
Academy Award. The film received its 
New York City premiere March 8 at the 
Entermedia Theatre. Hosted by Media 
Network, v/hich has coordinated opening 
night events in Manhattan for such alter- 
native history films as The Atomic Cafe 
and Rosie the Riveter, the benefit screen- 
ing was followed by a party on New York's 
terminally gentrifying Lower East Side. 
The film then began its theatrical run at 
Walter Reade's New Yorker Theater. 

In Our Hands, the collaborative 
documentary film project covering the 
massive 1983 June 12 anti-nuclear rally in 
NYC, opened at the Film Forum on 
February 18. This 90-minute color film 
produced by Robert Richter and Stan 
Warnow is a labor of love for the 350 film 
and videomakers who donated their time 
and skills to the project. Forty-one pro- 
duction crews covered different aspects of 
the day which began with a march through 
the streets of New York, culminating in a 
gathering of nearly one million protestors, 
speakers and performers in Central Park. 
Even with deferred labor costs, the budget 
for In Our Hands reached $150,000 and 
the chances of recovering any substantial 
amount of the costs are slim, according to 
a Richter Productions staff member. 
However, the monetary losses are ap- 
parently offset by the importance of 
documenting the largest public outcry 
against the nuclear arms race in the history 
of the peace movement. 





Revolutionary history: Daniel Shays (I) and Job Shattuck (r) in A Little Rebellion Now and Then 



James Irwin's The Role of the Observer explores the 
nature of childhoood and film in a fragmented nar- 
rative. 
APRIL 1984 



OTHER VOICES 

Lest this column leave readers with the 
impression that the only place to find an 
independent is Central America or the 
government archives, consider the ex- 
amples of these very diverse films: 

Ossian: An American Boy in Nepal, a 
first film by Thomas Anderson, is a half- 
hour documentary about an unusual child 
from Great Barrington, MA who chose to 
enter a Buddhist monastery at the age of 
four. At seven, the order "recognized" 
him as the reincarnation of a High Tibetan 
Lama whose American (re)birth had been 
prophesied by the leader of the order 
several years prior to the boy's appearance 
in Nepal on a trip with his parents. Ander- 
son completed the principal photography 
for the film in a two-month period in 
Nepal after obtaining special permission to 
film inside the monastery. Back in the US, 
the film was transferred to one-inch tape 
and edited. It was broadcast February 13 
on San Francisco's KQED-Ch 9. 

Documentarian Fred Salaff of New 
York City's Dokumenta Productions is 
distributing In the Mainstream: The 
Cleveland Quartet. Salaff personally 
financed the 52-minute 16mm work about 
a chamber music group chosen to perform 
with four Stradivarius violins which, ac- 
cording to their dealer, can never be 
separated. Salaff earned a degree in cello 
and composition from the University of 
Texas before becoming a filmmaker. In 
the Mainstream premiered at the Carnegie 
Hall Cinema on November 22, 1983. 

And finally, experimental filmmaker 
James Irwin of San Francisco has com- 
pleted The Role of the Observer, a 
57-minute 16mm color work composed of 
found footage which explores film's rela- 
tionship to audience, the sensual qualities 
of the film image, the history of ex- 
perimental film, the visceral impact of 
sound and various aspects of growing up 
in the 50's. A fragmented narrative which 
pretends to be autobiographical. The Role 



oj the Observer asks audiences ("ob- 
servers") to examine themselves, who they 
have been and their "roles" in the process 
of change, including sexual and social 
roles now and in childhood. 

SHOESTRING FILM WOOS 
WATERBURY 

In the fiction feature department, as 
Dorothy discovered on her trip to Oz, 
sometimes the best deal is in your own 
backyard. Filmmaker Gorman Bechard, a 
native of Waterbury, CT recently com- 
pleted a 95-minute narrative entitled 
Disconnected, produced in and around his 
hometown, utilizing mainly local talent, 
technical support and production 
resources. Bechard reports that the town 
and surrounding areas were extremely 
helpful; Waterbury's civic pride and the 
commitment of a loyal crew and cast who 
worked without salary during six 
weekends of production were factors help- 
ing Bechard keep his initial production 
costs down to $26,000. Now, theater 
manager Mario Zazarro has agreed to 
open Disconnected at Waterbury's Plaza 
1234 Cinema, whose screens are usual 
reserved for Hollywood fare. Shot in 
16mm, Disconnected is being blown up to 
35mm for the April 12 opening. 

Based on a short story written by a 
friend, Bechard describes his film as a psy- 
chological thriller of sibling rivalry and the 
sometimes dangerous games people play. 
Following its Waterbury premiere, 
Bechard hopes to place the film into com- 
mercial distribution. ■ 




The best deal: Disconnected, shot with local cast 
crew, was a product of Waterbury's "civic pride. 



and 
31 



THE INDEPENDENT 



GET ACTIVE 

Join an AIVF Committee 

Committee work is the engine that drives 
organizations like AIVF, and gives them power 
beyond their immediate resources. 

AIVF committees have helped forge and im- 
plement policies regarding Advocacy, Member- 
ship, Development and our educational programs. 
Work with your most active colleagues and with 
AlVF's board and staff to achieve our goals 
together. For more information, or to join a com- 
mittee, write or call AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th 
Floor, NY NY 10012, (212)473-3400. 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce the initiation 
of a discount program of film and video pro- 
duction services for its memPers in the New 
York area. The companies listed Pelow will 
offer discounts to AIVF members upon 
presentation of a membership card. We 
hope that this program will foster closer 
cooperation between independent pro- 
ducers and companies that provide produc- 
tion services. 

20120 Productions 
Tom Garber 

1 74 Spring St. 

New York (212) 966-2971 

10% discount on all 3 A " and /? " shooting 
packages. 

Editing facilities also available. Please call for cur- 
rent rates. 

TVC Labs 

Roseann Schaeffer, VP Sales 

311 West 43 St. 

New York (212) 397-8600 

Negotiable discounts on services. 

Camera Mart 

Loo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 West 55 St. 

New York (212) 757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film and video 
equipment, with some specific exceptions. Larger 
discounts may be available for rentals of long dura- 
tion or for favorable payment terms. 

Raflk 

814 Broadway 

New York (212) 475-91 10 

25% discount on straight rental of screening 
room, rentals on cameras and sales of used 
videocassettes. 15% discount on use of editing 
facilities. All other supplies at discount rates; 
special deals available. 

Rough Cut Video Services 
Jack Walworth 

129 West 22 St. 
New York (212) 242-1914 

10% across-the-board discount on all services, in- 
cluding 3 A " productions. 3 A " editing and VHS to 
Vt " transfers. 

AIVF would like to thank these companies 
for participating. Any other firms who wish to 
be included, please call (212) 473-3400. 





Association of Independent 


Barbara Kopple 


George Stoney 


Video and Filmmakers. Inc. 


independent producer 


independent producer 


ADVISORY BOARD 




David Lubell 


/professor 






attorney 


Dan Talbot 


Ed Asner 


Emile de Antonio 


Midge MacKenzie 


New Yorker Films 


actor 


director/writer 


attorney 


Jesus Trevino 


John Avildsen 


Dou Dou Diene 


Brock Peters 


independent producer 


director 


UNESCO 


actor/producer 


Claudia Weill 


Erik Barnouw 


Ralph Donnelly 


George Pillsbury 


independent producer 


broadcast historian 


Cinema 5 


The Funding Exchange 


Cora Weiss 


Jeanine Basinger 


John Hanhardt 


Jack Sheinkman 


foundation executive 


Wesleyan University 
Les Brown 


Whitney Museum 
Chas. Floyd Johnson 


Amalgamated Clothing 
& Textile Wkrs. 


Robert Wise 

director 


CHANNELS magazine 


producer 


Joan Shigekawa 


Ken Wlaschin 


James Day 


Joanne Koch 


independent producer 


London Film Festival 


Children's Television 


Film Society, 


Fran Spielman 




Workshop 


Lincoln Center 


First Run Features 





terested in action, crime, science fiction & western, 
etc. One "star" must be in film. 5-yr. contracts w/2 
yr. TV holdback for German-speaking area of 
Europe including cassette & disk. Payment outright 
and/or advance & royalty. Contact: Jonny Chen, 
VP International Operations, GFV Gesellschaft fur 
Video mbh, Geibelstrabe 36, d-4000 Dusseldorf, 
W. Germany; tel: 02-1168-2110. 

• NEW FILMS SOUGHT: For Greater Boston 
Fatherhood Forum, June 16, 1984. Sponsored by 
Wheelock College, Boston & Bank Street School, 
NYC. Forum seeks films dealing w/any aspect of 
fathers or fathering, particularly new vs. tradi- 
tional roles, relationships between fathers & adult 
children, etc. 1 of 6 simultaneous forums through- 
out country, event will be attended by profession- 
als, researchers & service providers as well as in- 
terested fathers & other individuals. Contact: Ben 
Achtenberg, Fanlight Prod., 47 Halifax St., Boston 
MA 02130, (617)524-0980. 

• FOX/LORBER ASSOCIATES, specialist in TV 
marketing & distribution, expanding feature film 
library for representation. Interested in full-length 
English-language films w/primarily narrative 
structure for sale to pay TV/cable, broadcast & 
home video, both domestic & foreign. Minimum 
length: 60 min.; no subtitles. Contact: Ericka 
Markman, Fox/Lorber Assoc, 79 Madison Ave., 
Ste. 601, NY NY 10016, (212) 686-6777. 

• PELICAN FILMS distributes films to health 
care profession, but short films & tapes for all 
markets welcome. Alternatives to traditional 
distribution arrangements offered. Contact: Ar- 
thur Hoyle, Pelican Films, 3010 Santa Monica 
Blvd., Ste. 440, Santa Monica CA 90404, (213) 
399-3753. 

• SHOR T VIDEOTAPES wanted for spring/sum- 
mer NY shows. Can offer small payments, aimiable 
context & crack public relations. Women's 
Performance Art Video (excerpts from live presen- 
tations, documents OK too). New Black 
Video — Call for hidden talent; the never-been- 
seens, the just-starting-outs, the too-shy-to-calls, 
etc. This means you. Deadline: Ap. 20, 1984. Send 
videotapes under 15 minutes for consideration to 
Hulser, AIVF, 625 Broadway, NY NY 10012. 
(Please include return stamped mailer.) 

• DISTRIBUTOR of 16mm environmental issue 
films looking for new titles for developing 



32 



catalogue. Contact: Umbrella Films, 60 Blake Rd., 
Brookline MA 02146, (617) 277-6639. 

• CHANNEL L seeks 16mm color films & 3 A " col- 
or tapes, broadcast quality, 25-58 min. on topics 
relating specifically to social, political, civic, 
cultural issues of interest to Manhattan dwellers. 
Do not phone or send films or tapes. Write: Direc- 
tor, Channel L Working Group, Inc., 51 Chambers 
St. Rm. 532, NY NY 10007. 

Freelancers 

• CHOREOGRAPHER w/experience in video & 
film seeks opportunities to design movement, 
sound, visuals or effects for your production. Con- 
tact: Vicki Stern, (212) 924-8299/473-3753, NY. 

• WRITER/RESEARCHER w/credits USIA, 
Group W & corporations seeks freelance/part-time 
work. Extraordinary knowledge & contacts in 
scientific, technological, medical & related areas of 
government, academic & industry. Contact: N. 
Kagan, (212)254-1120, NY. 

• STOR Y/SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT: Extensive 
experience in presentation & proposal writing; 
analysis & research of scripts on all topics for TV 
series, movies, docs. Call: (212) 677-7832, NY. 

• APPRENTICE EDITOR: Experience in video; 
can work for low pay if production provides learn- 
ing experience. Contact: Sasha, (212) 222-3342, 
NY. 

• PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT: Can 
offer assistance in development, publicity cam- 
paigns, developing marketing & promotional 
materials. Contact: Kristen Simone, (212) 
289-8299, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/ new Sony DXC-M3 
3-tube camera ready to shoot docs, dance & other 
projects. Deck, mics, accessories & crew as needed; 
rates negotiable. Contact: L. Goodsmith, (212) 
898-8157, NY. 

• GAFFER available for docs, low-budget 
features & shorts. 12 yrs. experience in theater, 
video & film. Contact: Chris, (212) 499-3219, NY. 

• ASST. ART DIRECTOR currently freelancing 
in print seeks work in production design. Some film 
experience. Resume, portfolio available. Contact: 
Eva, (212) 724-3879, NY. 

APRIL 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



• CINEMA TOGRAPHER A VAILABLE w/Arri 
16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent in French, 
Spanish. Negotiable rates. Contact: Pedro Bonilla, 
(212) 662-1913, NY. 

• NEWS CREW AVAILABLE w/16mm & V* " 
production gear. Professional credits on request. 
Contact: Pacific St. Films, 630 Ninth Ave., NY NY 
10036, (212) 875-9722. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER A VAILABLE for fic- 
tion, documentary. Fully equipped including 
Aaton 7LTR, Cooke 10.4-52, 16 or S16, Super 
Speed, L. T1.3. Reasonable rates. Contact: Igor 
Sunara, (212) 249-0416, NY. 

• PENNY WARD/ VIDEO: Rentals— Sony 
DXC- 1 800 camera, Beta 1 Portapak mic & monitor 
w/operator, $150/day; same w/VO-4800 deck, 
$175/day. Transfers— Vi " Beta to Va", $10/hr. 
Viewing— Vi " Beta & 3 A ", $5/hr. Editor— $10/hr. 
Call: (212)228-1427, NY. 

• CAMERA ASSISTANT w/ Aaton 7 LTR for 
hire. Lighting & grip package available. Contact: 
John, (914) 473-0633, NY. 

• RESEARCHER: Access & familiarity w/all 
NYC libraries & Library of Congress in DC. Effi- 
cient & meticulous w/background in history, 
political economy & filmmaking. Rate negotiable. 
Contact: Danny, (212) 924-4711, NY. 

• CAMERA OPERATOR / ASSISTANT w/Eclair 
ACL & Angenieux 12-120mm. Call: Denise 
Brassard, (212) 925-2531, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER w/16mm Aaton & 
lights available to work w/independents on doc & 
narrative films. Negotiable rates. Contact: East 
Marion Films, (212) 420-0335, NY. 

• ASSISTANT/APPRENTICE SOUND EDI- 
TOR: Available immediately for work. Have work- 
ed on several independent projects. Call: Adam 
Groden, (516) 796-3233, NY. 

• WHY NOT HA VE A WARD- WINNING COM- 
POS. S & PRODUCERS SCORE YOUR NEXT 
PROJECT? Original electronic music for AV, film 
& commercials. Fully equipped 16-track studio 
featuring complete electronic facilities & original 
music library. Contact: Peter Fish, Benjamin 
Goldstein, (212) 581-2305, NY. 

• COMING OUT WEST? NY indies planning to 



RE: New 
Able Resource 

FIVF's new Production Resources File is 
stuffed with goodies: screenplays, actors'/ 
techies' resumes, info on post/production 
equipment, studios/spaces, production com- 
panies, publications, events/conferences, 
computers, satellites & cable. Come in & con- 
sult it, or send contributions/suggestions to 
the attention of Mary Guzzy. 



'stand-'by 



shoot in northern California or Bay area can save 
time & money by contacting Karil Daniels to coor- 
dinate most effective, least expensive shoot possi- 
ble. 10 years experience w/San Francisco inde- 
pendent film community. Contacts to quality 
freelance crew members, locations, equipment, 
services & supplies at best rates. Contact: Point of 
View Prods., 2477 Folsom St., San Francisco CA 
94110; (415)821-0435. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A & B rolls cut, 
scenes pulled for opticals, etc. Color & b&w, rever- 
sal, negative stocks. Reliable service, reasonable 
rates. Call: (212) 786-6278, NY. 

• GOT A RIGHTS PROBLEM? Want to use 
recording, film footage, obtain music license, get 
rights to literary work or photo? Barbara Zimmer- 
man's service provides solutions to these problems 
& more. Special free initial consultation for readers 
who mention they saw this ad in The Independent : 
Contact: Barbara Zimmerman, 145 West 86 St., 
NY NY 10024; (212) 580-0615. 

• OMNI PROPS: Specializing in design & con- 
struction of strange, unusual props & set pieces for 
film, video, photography. Contact: Richard Sands, 
179 Grand St., Brooklyn NY 11211; (212) 
387-3744. 

• PENNY WARD/ VIDEO: Documentation of 
dance, theater workshops & performances. Col- 
laboration & consultation; ex-dancer sympathetic 
to dancers' needs. Video for dance research proj- 
ects. Video resumes of choreography for grant ap- 
plications. Contact: Penny Ward, (212) 228-1427, 
NY. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

• DOCUMENTARY IN PRODUCTION, The 
Rise & Fall of the Borscht Belt, seeks NYC-based 




New York's Newest Videotape Editroom 
%" to %" & %" to 1" w/ Digital 

(212) 684-3830 



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To encourage experimental work 
with state-of-the-art equipment in 
the video medium, a major midtown 
Manhattan video studio is making 
its post production facilities 
available at night to non-com- 
mercial videomakers. 
The program is called STAND-BY. 
The prices are nominal, given the 
equipment involved. 
STAND-BY allows you to master 
directly from your 3 /4-inch originals 
onto one-inch tape. Dissolves, soft 
edge wipes, freeze frames, fast and 
slow motion (programmable varia- 
ble speed), and multi-track audio 
mixing are all available. If you like 
you can take advantage of ADO or 
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position of your images (among 
other things). The CMX 340X 
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APRIL 1984 



33 



THE INDEPENDENT 



person for additional research into Jewish- 
American experience. Deferred payment only. 
Contact: Peter Davis, (914) 434-5579, NY. 

• INTERNSHIPS AT COLLECTIVE FOR LIV- 
ING CINEMA: Applications for Fall '84 accepted 
May 1-June 15, 1984. Positions available in 
workshop/seminars, events program, publica- 
tions, publicity, touring program, production asst. 
& arts administration. Send brief resume, 2 recom- 
mendation letters & cover letter describing skills & 
reasons for applying. Contact: Kate Flax, (212) 
925-3926 Mon.-Thurs. 10 am-6 pm. 

• PRODUCTION ASSISTANT & ASSISTANT 
PRODUCER wanted to work w/experienced film- 
maker on production of a partially funded arts 
documentary for PBS. Contact: East Marion 
Films, (212)420-0335, NY. 

Publications 

• ALTERNATIVE VIEWS PROGRAM CATA- 
LOG documents 5 years of progressive public ac- 
cess programming in Austin TX. Lists 200 pro- 
grams including interviews w/social change ac- 
tivists on subjects distorted or censored by mass 
media. $3.95/ea. Contact: Alternative Views, PO 
Box 7279-N, Austin TX 78712. 

• NATIONAL DATA BOOK: 8th edition; com- 
prehensive source of information on 2 1 ,759 private 
grantmaking foundations & 208 community foun- 
dations. New listing of all active private operating 
organizations that conduct own charitable ac- 
tivities rather than granting to other organizations. 
Comprehensive bibliography of state & local grant- 
makers directories. Arranged by zip code, includes 
separate alphabetical index volume. $50. Contact: 
The Foundation Center, 888 Seventh Ave., NY NY 
10106, (800) 424-9836, toll-free. 

• 1984 FAIRS & FESTIVALS IN NORTHEAST: 
Covers 400 special arts events in New England, NY, 
NJ, PA, DE & MD. Includes dates, application in- 
formation, contact persons. $4. Contact: Festival 
Listing, Arts Extension Svc, Division of Continu- 
ing Education, University of Massachusetts, 
Amherst MA 01003. 

• KNOWLEDGE INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS 
complete 1984 catalog lists periodicals, books & 
other services of this leading information industry 
publisher. Titles include Video Editing & Post- 
Production: A Professional Guide by Gary H. 
Anderson, $34.95, The Cable /Broadband Com- 
munications Book by Mary Louise Howell, $29.95, 
The Video Age: TV Technology & Applications in 
the 1980's, $29.95. Contact: KIP, 701 Westchester 
Ave., White Plains NY 10604, (914) 328-9157. 



Resources • Funds 

• NEA proposals for audiovisual & film projects in 
category of Design Communications. Deadline: 
May 25, 1984. Contact: NEA, 1100 Pennsylvania 
Ave., NY, Washington DC 20506, (202) 682-5452. 

• GLOBAL VILLAGE announces 2nd round of 
1983-84 Facilities Grants to video artists in NY, NJ 
& CT. Grants awarded in equipment & time allow 
2-3 artists use of Global Village production & post- 
production facilities for completion of video 
works-in-progress aimed at broadcast. Executive 
producing services including production & distribu- 
tion aid & promotion services. Application 
34 



deadline: April 16, 1984. Contact: Julie Pantelick, 
Global Village, 454 Broome St., NY NY 10013, 
(212) 966-7526. 

• LIGHTING, GRIP EQUIPMENT 
REPAIR/MAINTENANCE: Design special rigs & 
accessories. Experienced w/HMI lighting units; 4 
yrs. experience w/Elmack dollies. Contact: Chris, 
(212)499-3219, NY. 

• WHEN YOU'RE SHOOTING IN NY: Key 
Light productions, independent film & video pro- 
ducers, can furnish you w/complete production or 
support staff; researchers, writers, PAs, camera- 
people & crews. Our credits include network, PBS, 
independent & industrial productions. Call: Beth, 
(212) 581-9748, NY. 



• • • 

Coming 
Attractions 



• An American Way of Playing: Feature 
$$ at PBS' American Playhouse 

• Stereo Sound On Location 

• Legal Talk: Financial Set-Ups 
For Filmmakers 

• Hawaii Video 

• Festivals: San Sebastian, PhilaFilm, 
Sinking Creek, San Francisco Gay, 
Margaret Mead 



In upcoming issues of THE 

INDEPENDENT 



• LEGAL SER VICES: Experienced entertainment 
lawyer specializing in independent productions. 
Reasonable rates. Contact: Paula Schaap, (212) 
777-6361/460-5015, NY. 

• SUPERVIDEO: California videocassette retail 
& equipment sales outlet has variety of activities for 
video enthusiasts including regular production 
workshops, videotape club, production & publica- 
tion of "VideoSpeak" newsletter for members & 
non-members. Contact: Nissim Raphael, Pres., 
SuperVideo, 417 Colorado Ave. , Santa Monica CA 
90401. 



Trims • Glitches 

• PRICELESS NEGATIVES stored in J&D 
Laboratories, Inc. vaults will be purged to make 
room for new jobs. Materials inactive over 5 years 
should be claimed, or notify J&D Lab w/disposi- 
tion instructions by May 1, 1984. Please be able to 
substantiate ownership rights. Contact: J&D Labs, 
Inc., 12 West 21 St., NY NY 10010, (212) 691-5613. 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO DARA BIRN- 
BAUM, whose 5-channel video & sound instal- 
lation, PM Magazine, was presented in New 



American Filmmaking Series at Whitney Museum 
of Modern Art, Feb. 4-March 4. 

• CONGRA TULA TIONS TO AIVF MEMBERS 
selected for funding in CPB Open Solicitation 
category: Development funds to Helena Solberg 
Ladd & Diego Echeverria of NYC for Latin 
America: The Awakening Colossus; production 
funds to Jim Brown of Putnam Valley, NY for 
Woody Guthrie: A Musical Biography & Stevenson 
Palfi of New Orleans for Setting the Record 
Straight, a survey of success in the US pop music 
world featuring Papa John Creach. Round II pro- 
posal deadlines were scheduled to be announced in 
late March, 1984. Contact: CPB, Open Solicita- 
tion, 1 1 1 1 16 St. NW, Washington DC 20036, (202) 
293-6160. 

• PORTLAND RESIDENTS ONLY: Arts Chan- 
nel will award $2000 grants to proposals demon- 
strating innovative uses of television for new cable 
series, Video Verite: The Art of TV. Seeking pro- 
posals on art of interactive 2-way TV, computer 
graphics animation, live from multiple locations, 
studio special effects. Contact: Ed Geis, Arts 
Coord., Cablesystems Pacific, 3075 NE Sandy, 
Portland OR 97232. 

• CPB PROGRAM STAFF PLA YS MUSICAL 
CHAIRS: Former coordinator of panels and pro- 
posals, Eloise Payne, has left CPB to assume po- 
sition of Program Coordinator at Labor Institute 
for Public Affairs. Pat King will take over panel & 
proposal responsibilities & has been promoted to 
manager of Program Fund operations from 
budget/administration manager. Don Marbury, 
former associate director of cultural & general pro- 
grams is now associate director of cultural & 
children's programs, while Jennifer Lawson has 
been promoted from program coordinator to 
associate director of drama & arts programs. Ann 
Reed, formerly of NPR, PBS & CPB Broadcast 
Services has become manager of planning & 
reports, a position created to fill vacancy left by 
Payne. 

• ASIA SOCIETY PRESENTS FILM FRIDA YS: 

Series of feature films from & about Asia to be 
screened on Fridays beginning April 6 with My 
Memories of Old Beijing directed by Wu Yigong, 
first official Academy Award entry from People's 
Republic of China. April 13, The Lin Family Shop 
directed by Shui Hua; April 20, The Teahouse by 
Xie Tian; April 27, Rickshaw Bow by Ling Zifeng. 
In May, Satyajit Ray's Calcutta Trilogy will be 
screened & in June, 4 western films dealing 
w/Asian themes. All screenings take place at the 
Asia Society, Wallace Auditorium, 725 Park Ave., 
at 70th St., 8 pm. $4 non-members, $3 members, 
students, senior citizens. Call: (212) 288-6400, NY. 

• CONGRA TULA TIONS TO AIVF MEMBERS 
awarded production/completion grants from 
American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker 
Program: In documentary category: Tom Daven- 
port of Delaplane VA & Mira Nair of NY. In drama 
category: Nicholas Hondrogcn & Louis Yansen of 
NY. An additional grant awarded to Bob Rosen of 
NY. Applications for 1985 cycle accepted in 
September, 1984. Contact: AFI, Independent Film- 
maker Program, 2021 No. Western Ave., PO Box 
2799, LA CA 90027, (213) 856-7696. 

• ERRATUM: The Independent erroneously called 
Gerald Vizenor the director of Harold of Orange 
(In/Out Production, Dec. 1983). The correct credit 
should be Gerald Vizenor, screenplay & Richard 
Weise, director. ■ 

APRIL 1984 



Announcing 



g 




- 


in: 


r 


ii 



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(*Costs of shipping 
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Save money, space and time with Ship 'n Save Video Vault II! 

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carries Vi" or 3 A" cassettes . . . eliminates costly time- 
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475 Boulevard, Elmwood Park, Nj 07407 (201) 796-6600 
Chicago (312) 661-0851 ■ North Hollywood (818) 304-0400 
■ New York (212) 541-6464 



INDEPENDENT 

UNITED 

AT THE SAME TIME ? 



As an independent video or filmmaker, you've 
decided to work "outside the system"— which 
means you need a community of peers even more. 
The Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers 
(AIVF) is such a community. As the national trade 
association for independent producers, AIVF 
represents your needs and goals to government, 
industry and the general public. After eight years of 
testifying before Congress, lobbying the public TV 
system, and working through media coalitions to 
preserve and strengthen cable access, we've 
proven that together we have a voice people must & 
do listen to. 

Along with our sister organization, the Foundation 
for Independent Video & Film (FIVF), we also offer 
you a wealth of concrete services: 

• Comprehensive health insurance at affordable 
rates * The Independent Magazine, our film & 
video monthly * FIVF's Festival Bureau, providing 
foreign & domestic liaison • Comprehensive 
information services * Professional Screenings 

• Seminars 



INDEPENDENT 




There's 
Strength in 
Numbers... 

JOIN TODAY! 

□$25/yr Individual 
OS5/yr Student with ID 
D$50/yr Organization 
Add $10 Outside US & Canada 



NAME 

ADDRESS. 



CITY/STATE/ZIP . 



L 



Send check or money order to: AIVF. 625 Broadway, (between) 
Bleecker & Houston) 9th floor. New York NY 1001 2. Drop by our 
offices or call (212) 473-3400. 



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FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York NY 10012 



NON-PROFIT ORG. 
US POSTAGE 

PAID 
New York. NY 
Permit No. 7089 



MOVING? LET US KNOW. . . 

It takes 4 to 6 weeks to process 
an address change, and we don 't 
want you to miss a single issue. 



THE 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



MAY 1984 



$1.50 



INDEPENDENT 







THE INDEPENDENT 



"Produce a sponsored film 

-About Us? 



What would we stand 

to gain? And who would 
want to see it?" 

When producers show how 
sponsored films can meet their 
prospects communications 
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We can provide countless 
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| support for producers. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



THE 

INDEPENDENT 

MAY 1984, VOLUME 7, NUMBER 3 

Publisher: Lawrence Sapadin 

Editor: Kathleen Hulser 

Associate Editors: Susan Linfield, 

Renee Tajima 

Contributing Editors: Bob Brodsky, 

Debra Goldman, Mary Guzzy, Fenton 

Johnson, Jacqueline Leger, David 

Leitner, Wendy Lidell, Toni Treadway 

Contributors: John Bishop, Daryl Chin, 

Rob Edelman, Deborah Erickson, David 

Keller, Heidi J. Larson, Theresa 

McCracken, Paula R. Schaap, Adrienne 

Weiss 

Art Director: Deborah Payne 

Advertising: Barbara Spence; Marionette, 

Inc. 

Distributor: Bernhard DeBoer, Inc; 

Nutley, NJ 

Typesetting: Skeezo Typography 

Printer: Petcap Press 

The Independent is published 10 times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, a not-for-profit, tax- 
exempt educational foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the Asso- 
ciation of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc . (AI VF), the national trade association of in- 
dependent producers and individuals involved in 
independent video and film. Subscription is in- 
cluded with membership in AIVF. Together, 
FIVF and AIVF provide a broad range of educa- 
tional and professional services for in- 
dependents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Articles in The Independent are contributed 
by our members and supporters. If you have an 
idea for, or wish to contribute, an article to The In- 
dependent, contact the editor at the above address. 

The copyright in all articles contained in The 
Independent is jointly owned by FIVF and the 
particular author, except where otherwise noted . 
Consequently, the right to reprint same will re- 
quire the written permission of both FIVF and 
the particular author. Views expressed are those 
of the authors, and not necessarily of AIVF or 
FIVF. 

©FIVF 1984 

AIVF /FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, executive 
director; Wendy Lidell, assistant director; Isaac Jackson, media 
coordinator; Andrea Estepa, membership services; Mary Guzzy, 
information services; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project 
administrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

A1VF/FIVFBOARDSOFDIRECTORS: Robert Richter, presi- 
dent; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian Jimenez, chair; 
Peter Kinoy, secretary; Matt Clarke, treasurer; Pearl Bowser; 
Loni Ding; Denise Oliver; Howard Petrick; Lawrence Sapadin 
{ex officio); Richard Schmiechen; Tom Turley. 

A Publication of 

The Foundation for 
Independent Video A Film 

A 

The Association of 

Independent Video A 

Filmmakers 



CONTENTS 



Features 



An American Way of Playing: Feature Films for TV 20 

PBS Dramatic Series Now Allows Pre- Broadcast Theatrical Release • Rob Edelman 

Independents on British Channel Four 22 

Alan Fountain Talks about Policy & Politics at the Channel • Kathleen Hulser 

Choreographers Make Film Move 1 7 

Pooh Kaye, Johanna Boyce & Sally Silvers Bring Movement to Screen • Daryl Chin 

Sweet Stereo Sounds on Location 1 4 

Low-Budget Solutions for High Fidelity Recording in 16mm • John Bishop 

Columns 

Media Clips • Waste Dumper Sues Indie 4 

Also, LPTV in St. Croix, Labor on TV, "Jesus" Worldwide Distribution • Debra Goldman et al. 

Super-8 • Bridging Language Gap 1 

Visuals for Communication & Subtitles on Slides • Treadway & Brodsky 

Legal Talk e Not-for-Profits & Umbrellas 1 1 

Legal Financial Set-ups for Features Examined • Paula R. Schaap 

Festivals • Arts at Edinburgh 

Also, San Sebastian, Venice, Hawaii, Toronto, Brazil S-8 • Larson, Tajima, Lidell 28 

Notices 32 

Edited by Mary Guzzy 

In & Out of Production 34 

Mary Guzzy 

COVER: Greg Nava and Anna Thomas' "El Norte" and Lynne Littman's "Testament" are two film 
projects made for American Playhouse that have won theatrical release prior to broadcast. 



EDITORIAL 



Two articles in this issue, American Play- 
house and British Channel Four, invite com- 
parison of programming policies on both 
sides of the Atlantic. In England, where the 
new Channel Four operates in a public 
broadcasting context, programmers have 
developed new and fertile relationships with 
independents of every ilk — from documen- 
tarians to art filmakers to personal essay- 
ists. In the US, where airspace for non-com- 
mercial projects is scarcer, the nearly three- 
year-old American Playhouse slot on PBS is 
deemphasizing its original teleplay concept 
in favor of feature film projects. 

These two program funders and broad- 
casters have contrasting attitudes that have 
consequences for independent filmmakers. 
Alan Fountain stresses unusual content and 
style, and tries to air work which reflects the 
current concerns of filmmakers in the field. 
American Playhouse emphasizes suitability 
for audiences when selecting projects. The 
comments made at the 1983 review session 
of the American Playhouse advisory panel 
define some of the resulting problems: 
"Playhouse is the steamtable of drama . .it 
lacks consistency, texture, style and con- 
tent (Season II) projected a sense of 
'earnest realism'. ..Playhouse should be 
about writers, not movies . they should not 



be pretending to make 'movies of the 
week' , . They need to go to writers and pro- 
ducers directly . . . find the writer 's 'dream 
product' American Playhouse is becom- 
ing a museum . . .the themes have lacked 
currency, they are old-fashioned. They must 
take risks. " 

While Playhouse has been edging toward 
a closer relationship with independent film- 
makers, it still seems stuck in a straight 
dramatic mold. Watching it, you would never 
know that America is a culturally innovative 
place — nor would you guess that films by 
young Americans are eliciting excited reac- 
tions from Seattle to Berlin to Tokyo. When is 
Playhouse going to go for a music film (Wild 
Style, Crossover Dreams), or the punk- 
sters (Vortex, King Blank, Android, Em- 
erald Cities), or the experimental directors 
(Haile Gerima, Yvonne Rainer, Mark Rap- 
paport), or the emerging black filmmakers 
of demonstrated talent (Charles Burnett, 
Julie Dash), or even regional plays into 
television (Red Fox, Second Hangin' from 
Kentucky)? If Playhouse is anemic, it's not 
due to a scarcity of risky material. As both 
makers and watchers of fiction, we would 
like to see it look for an identity beyond the 
white picket fence of middle-brow drama. 

— The Editor 



MAY 1 004 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 



Waste Dumper 
Dumps on Indie 



DEBRA GOLDMAN 

Lawsuits have become America's favorite 
way of getting even. Mistresses trying to col- 
lect cash from their lovers' widows, corporate 
giants hoping to swallow up other corporate 
giants and crime victims left unsatisfied by the 
criminal justice system all pour into civil court 
to redress their grievances. Is the real aim of 
these proliferating lawsuits always to collect 
the millions of dollars demanded by the plain- 
tiff? Or are the legal fees, time and anxiety the 
suit costs the defendant sometimes revenge 
enough? 

One unwilling victim of litigation is Nicolas 
Kaufman. The Boston-area independent pro- 
duced Hazardous Waste, a documentary on 
the toxic waste disposal problem in various 
parts of the country. Youngstown, New York 
was one focus of his film; there Kaufman ex- 
amined the role of SCA Chemical Waste Ser- 
vice, a Massachusetts-based firm which 
operates in the NY city. Officials at SCA who 
saw the film were not pleased with it, and 
decided to make their displeasure known. Last 
November, SCA filed a defamation suit in 
Massachusetts against Nicolas Kaufman Pro- 
ductions, Earth-rise Productions and the 
film's shipper, Transit Media. PBS, which 
broadcast Hazardous Waste last summer, is 
not being sued (although SCA has filed a 
"personal attack complaint" against PBS 
with the FCC); apparently SCA wanted to 
concentrate its ire on the smaller entities. As 
balm for its outrage, SCA is seeking 
$18,750,000 in damages. 

At presstime, Kaufman's lawyers were re- 
portedly trying to work out a settlement with 



SCA. Whatever the outcome, SCA has cer- 
tainly made its point. While Kaufman's legal 
fees are covered by an insurance policy, the 
battle has taken its toll. Kaufman reports that 
he has missed days at work and was delayed in 
finishing a proposal for his next film, which is 
now three months behind schedule. It's 
enough to give pause to other filmmakers who 
might criticize multi-million dollar corpora- 
tions — all of which routinely swallow huge 
legal fees as part of the "normal" cost of do- 
ing business. A filmmaker may have the best 
case in the world — but it's going to cost a lot to 
prove it in court. 

Perhaps the most unlikely player in this 
legal drama is Transit Media, a film shipping 
service in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey which 
many independent distributors (such as New 
Day Films and Direct Cinema Limited) use. 
The suit names Transit Media as "distributor" 
of Hazardous Waste, a label that Transit 
Media's owner Else Logan says is inaccurate. 
"I don't view films and decide which ones to 
carry and which not," Logan insists. "Our job 
is to get prints to where they're supposed to be 
when they're supposed to be there. When the 
films are returned, we do an electronic inspec- 
tion, and then ship them out again." Neither 
she nor her staff has ever seen Hazardous 
Waste. "We don't even own a projector! For 
example, we ship a film called Putting Up the 
Pickles. I haven't the vaguest idea of what that 
one's about." 

The strain of the suit comes during a period 
of declining business, due to the nationwide 
softening of the 16mm market. Last year Lo- 




Hazardous Waste focuses on community solutions to a national problem— and landed its producer a lawsuit. 



gan borrowed $25,000 to buy Transit Media's 
electronic inspection machine, and, had she 
been forced to cover defense costs herself, 
"We definitely would be out of business. 
There is no way that I could borrow against ac- 
counts receivable. This is a small business; 
we're basically a bunch a housewives. I am 
angry, but there's nothing I can do. I feel very 
victimized." 

The film's actual distributors are Kaufman 
himself, and, since January, Direct Cinema. 
Shortly after the suit was filed, Kaufman stop- 
ped distributing Hazardous Waste so his 
lawyers could take a good look at it. Direct 
Cinema's Mitchell Block says that there was 
also a delay on his end in promoting the 
documentary, but by March the film was back 
in distribution. Block is no stranger to civil 
court himself. Last year, as distributor of the 
Canadian film If You Love This Planet, he 
challenged the government's right to label a 
film "propaganda," and won. However, the 
Hazardous Waste suit worries him. "This is a 
completely different situation from the one we 
faced with If You Love This Planet. Suits like 
this could actually inhibit the production of cer- 
tain kinds of films. For a lot of independent film- 
makers, the implications are very frightening." 



High Hopes for Low Power 
At St. Croix Media Center 

The station's licensee, the Caribbean Center 
unlikely site for a television center. The cool, 
luminous glow of the TV screen would appear 
to be no match for year-round sunshine, pink 
sands and warm Caribbean seas. But the 
50,000 people who make their home in this 
tourist paradise, along with the 50,000 more 
who reside in the neighboring US-owned 
islands, live in the video age just like the rest of 
us. Far away from the New York-Los Angeles 
axis of the entertainment industry, they have 
an acute need for television that reflects their 
unique, ocean-bound community. This month 
islanders finally have a station of their own. 
On April 29, the low-power station TV45AB 
began broadcasting to the Caribbean. 

The stations licensee, the Caribbean Center 
for Understanding Media, is an alternative 
media center of the '70s which has successfully 
negotiated the transition to the entre- 
preneurial '80s. It was founded in 1974 by 
Adema Hackshaw, Paul Deare, Beth Deare 
and Cassandra Allsop as a community train- 
ing center and local production house. With 
grants from the Virgin Islands Council for the 
Arts and the NEA, the center developed a 
three-camera studio with $125,000 of 
broadcast-quality equipment including 
Ikegami and JVC cameras and a full comple- 
ment of field production hardware which it 
leases to the community at non-profit rates. 

Over the years, Allsop and the Deares have 
moved into other kinds of media work. Hack- 
shaw remained to oversee the Center's 
successful transformation from community 
producer to island broadcaster. He credits this 

MAY 1984 



The ^rtraot dinary 




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Robert Elfstrom 
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"AATON BECOMES PART 

OF YOUR BODY, PART OF 

YOUR VISION." 

Haskell Wexler 
Aaton s perfect balance 
lightness, and maneuver- 
ability, the way it drapes 
effortlessly over the 
shoulder makes it the 
first camera designed from 
your PO.V. 

The LTR viewing 
screen is the biggest and 
brightest because Aaton 
developed a special con- 
cave fiber optic device to 
make it that way. Aaton's 
rock steady registration, 
back focus stability 
(to within 5 microns) and 
vertical accuracy (to 
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film. Aaton features a 
6 to 54 fps variable frame 



rate and an optional built- 
in video tap. 

"MY AATON IS SO QUIET, 

I CAN SHOOT IN A 

CONFESSION BOOTH." 

Albert Maysles 
With its brushless 
motor, gear drive power 
transmission and patented 
posi-claw movement, the 
LTR is quiet by design. 
The rigid internal chassis 
isolates and dampens 
shock, and the film trans- 
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"I'VE TAKEN MY AATON 

FROM THE JUNGLES OF 

PERU TO THE ARCTIC AND 

NEVER HAD A PROBLEM." 

Pierre de Lespinois 
Aatons have logged 
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That's because the mech- 
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just minutes. 

"IT'S AMAZING HOW WELL 

SUPER 16MM COMPARES 

WITH 35MM." 

American Cinematographer 
People like Robert 
Altman, Haskell Wexler, 
Ed Lachman and Robert 
Elfstrom shot features 
and documentaries with 
Aaton because Super 16 
makes good sense. So if 
you have to choose one 
camera, it makes sense to 
choose the one that's two. 
Aaton LTR. 
"IN A COMBAT SITUATION, 
FILM WAS LIKE GOLD. 
AATON CTR SAVED MY LIFE." 
Tom Sigel 
The Clear Time 
Recording option frees 
you from the clapper and 
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tinuous synch. That's 
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remote. And pretty handy 
when you're under fire. 

"IF YOU GOT A PROBLEM, 
HE'LL FIX IT." 

Robert Sullivan 
Les Zellan backs you 



up with quick service, a 
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THE INDEPENDENT 




On the set of Laborvision, a weekly newsmagazine show carried by CableLINE. 



accomplishment to "staying on top of things 
and having very good lawyers." The center 
began investigating the possibilities of LPTV 
in the Virgin Islands in 1980, when it applied 
for and won a Minority Telecommunications 
Feasiblity Grant of $5,000 from CPB. 
Hackshaw admits that anyone who paused to 
blink missed out on this brief grant opportuni- 
ty: "By the time most eligible people found 
out about the grant, CPB had stopped giving 
it." The sum was applied to legal fees and 
engineering studies needed for an FCC ap- 
plication. The Center had the right credentials 
for relatively speedy approval by the FCC: 
location in an area "underserved" by televi- 
sion, minority ownership and a solid track 
record of community involvement. 

The new station's signal reaches the whole 
of St. Croix, and will be microwaved to St. 
Thomas and Puerto Rico. Economic necessity 
dictates that a fair portion of its ambitious 
10-15 hour broadcast day will be filled with 
programming acquired from the mainland. 
Here, too, Hackshaw is on top of all available 
opportunities, noting, "There's a lot of free 
programming around, and a lot you can 
barter for." Among the locally produced pro- 
grams, TV45AB will broadcast made-in-St. 
Croix magazine and news shows, as well as 
concentrating on programming for children 
and senior citizens, audiences usually ignored 
by commercial producers. And since no '80s 
television schedule is complete without music 
video, it too, will be part of the programming 
mix, featuring local VJs. 

Hackshaw estimates the first year's budget 
at $350,000, of which $200,000 will pay for 
transmission equipment, with the remainder 
covering operating expenses. Much of this 
money will come from commercial loans. But 
after years of working within non-profit 
budgets, Hackshaw is confident the station 
will survive financially through the sale of spot 
time. "At $30a spot, "he says, "you can make 
a lot of money." In light of all the disappoint- 



ments suffered by LPTV advocates in the last 
couple of years, he believes St. Croix TV will 
prove that low power is a workable enterprise, 
declaring, "Low-power TV stations are the 
direction that media centers all over should be 
going in. And we did it!" — DG 



Union Communications: 
Indies Work for Labor TV 

While front page news of the union move- 
ment grows ever more gloomy, reports on 
labor tucked away in the entertainment sec- 
tion are very upbeat these days. Unions have 
moved into video. In the face of shrinking 
membership rolls, faltering political influence 
and legalized union-busting courtesy of the 
bankruptcy courts, organized labor is 
attempting to establish itself as a power where 
it counts: on television. 

The term "labor television" covers a variety 
of activities, reaching back to the mid- 
seventies when the ILGWU set America hum- 
ming to "Look for the Union Label." Today 
labor television means social issue spot ads 
created by the American Federation of State, 
County and Municipal Employees and the 
public affairs shows produced by the 
American Federation of Teachers and Com- 
munication Workers of America. It encom- 
passes teleconferencing, videocassettes and 
increasing union investment in television 
studios and video equipment. But its glitziest 
manifestations yet are the efforts of the Labor 
Institute of Public Affairs (LIPA) to create 
commercial programming about labor for a 
national audience. 

Created by the AFL-CIO in 1981 , LIPA re- 
sulted from organized labor's growing aware- 
ness that working people were a rare sight on 
American television; when workers did make 
an appearance, they were most likely 
represented as strikers throwing rocks at 
delivery trucks or phalanxes of telephone 



workers trying to get the vote out for their can- 
didate. LIPA was created to offer an alter- 
native vision of labor. As Nick DeMartino, 
LIPA's director of marketing and distribu- 
tion, observes, "You're not part of the na- 
tional debate unless you're seen on TV." 

Last summer LIPA made its programming 
debut in the broadcast syndication market 
with America Works, a public affairs series 
produced with all the visual pizzazz an editing 
session at Reeves Teletape can buy. Each of 
the 1 2 shows focused on a broad social issue in 
which union members are involved: health 
care, voter registration, pay equity. The half- 
hour programs combined a short documen- 
tary, an animated "information" segment 
and a studio discussion. Six of the 12minidocs 
in the series were field-produced by outside in- 
dependents — stalwart allies wherever produc- 
tion budgets are tight. 

In light of the backgrounds of LIPA's staff, 
the reliance on independents is a natural one. 
Many are independent producers themselves 
with administrative experience in indie-linked 
institutions. Executive director Larry 
Kirkman set up the American Film Institute's 
Video and Television Services department, 
while DeMartino has a background in public 
TV and was largely responsible for writing the 
Carnegie Commission's 1979 report on public 
television. On the production side, depart- 
ment head David Weiner is another AFI Video 
and Television Services veteran as well as 
founder of Washington DCs Interface Video. 
Familiarity with the indie scene helped make 
their working relationships with producers 
fairly painless. New York independent Eric 
Breitbart went to Boston for LIPA to docu- 
ment the legislative battle over "right-to- 
know" laws (which require employers to 
disclose toxic materials present in the 
workplace). He reports that "as a work-for- 
hire experience, it was definitely one of the 
better ones." 

Thanks to a word-of-mouth recommenda- 
tion, Breitbart 's working arrangements with 
LIPA were made over the phone, without the 
aggravation of proving his credentials. "LIPA 
was very specific about what it wanted," he 
says. "The piece was to focus on a 'hero,' a 
union person actively involved in a communi- 
ty issue. " LIPA had final say over the shape of 
the documentary, but Breitbart says, "They 
did pay me to spend two days in Washington 
editing the piece, which I felt was pretty fair." 

Breitbart 's version, however, was never 
aired. One problem was that despite local 
union assurances that the Massachusetts legis- 
lature would act on the bill while the LIPA 
crew was in town, the vote never materialized. 
"Our intention in the America Works 
documentaries was to follow a small part of a 
larger continuous story from start to finish," 
producer Weiner explains. "We had to im- 
provise because we didn't get that in Boston. 
Eric edited the material in a fairly free style, 
which we liked, but, in light of our needs for 
the series as a whole, we ended up cutting it in- 
to something more narrative." 

After its syndication run, America Works 

MAY 1904 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Capital Resources 

Looking for a location in Louisiana? Crying lor a 
crew in Colorado? Aching to edit in Alaska? The ever- 
enterprising staff of AIVF has compiled a library of 
production information from US state and city film 
commissions. Helpful resources include maps, hotel 
and restaurant guides, photo essays of available 
locations, addresses and phone numbers of union 
locals, production companies, equipment rental and 
talent agencies- Even animals and airplanes can be 
found. Many film commissions provide free liaison 
and information services. Most have toll-free 
numbers. Directories are on file at AIVF for 
reference only. 



got a second life as a part of CableLINE, 
LIPA's venture into the world of cable televi- 
sion. CableLINE (the LINE stands for Labor 
Institute Network Experiment) was tested last 
winter for 10 weeks in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and 
Seattle. In addition to America Works, 
CableLINE's programming mix included a 
weekly newsmagazine show, Laborvision, an 
hour-long documentary series, Images of 
Labor, and weekend showings of feature- 
length films. It is no surprise that viewers who 
tuned into CableLINE saw a lot of indepen- 
dent work ranging from the inevitable Harlan 
County, U.S.A. to The Weavers: Wasn't 
That a Time! "We didn't set out to specifically 
acquire independent films," explains DeMar- 
tino. "But 90 to 95 percent of what we wanted 
was made by independents." 

The response of cable operators and au- 
diences was encouraging enough for LIPA, 
with a 1984-85 budget of $6 million, to make 
the leap into a national satellite-delivered serv- 
ice. However, the producer of Images of 
Labor, Lyn Goldfarb, foresees a possible 
stumbling block to a continuing indie presence 
in the ambitious CableLINE project: indepen- 
dent producers' reliance on cheaper, non- 
union crews. In selecting work for Images, 
Goldfarb says, "There were some films I felt I 
just couldn't use because they were shot with- 
out union contracts." While acknowledging 
that most independent budgets do not allow 
for union salaries, she insists, "You can go to 
NABET and negotiate. They're flexible." 

If LIPA is going to press the union issue, it 
would probably be more productive to focus 
on the cable industry itself rather than on in- 
dependent producers. LIPA staffers admit 
there is a contradiction in working within a 
non-unionized industry, but they do not like 
to dwell on it', preferring to tout CableLINE's 
virtues as a business. At a luncheon of the New 
York chapter of the National Academy of 
Television Arts and Sciences last February, 
Kirkman spoke to the assembled in the lingua 
franca of the media industry: numbers. One 
thing LIPA's figures tell us is that one out of 
five cable subscribers live in union-affiliated 
homes. Nationally, the AFL-CIO can lay 
claim to 14 million member households, many 
in about-to-be-wired urban areas. That's a 
number even Nielsen can respect: to the cable 
industry, a worker is just a consumer by 
another name. 
MAY 1984 



The details of CableLINE 's national launch 
will be announced later this month at the an- 
nual meeting of the National Cable Television 
Association. Following the model of Black 
Entertainment Television, LIPA expects to 
begin with a few programming hours offered 
as part of an established ad-supported service, 
as well as leasing time on the Satellite Program 
Network. Although it may take a few years, a 
"labor channel" is not beyond the realm of 
possibility. In a public world increasingly 
defined by the dictum "I am on television, 
therefore I am," it may prove to be a political 
necessity. — DG 

Endangered Documentary 
Feted at Global Village 

Global Village's Documentary Festival 
celebrates its tenth year this month with a full 
menu of film, video and television works. 
Over the past decade the documentary has 
persisted under conditions which might render 
a weaker species extinct. The field has seen 
particularly hard times during the '80s, as the 
country's move to the Reagan right has taken 
its toll on the funding and ideological freedom 
of political documentaries. Internal pressures 
have been brought to bear as well: in 
video — long the standard-bearer for socially 
conscious productions — arts panels have been 
more interested in advancing the form than 
the message, and a new wave of dramatic pro- 
ductions have overshadowed documentaries. 
"So the festival is more than a celebration," 
said festival directors Julie Gustafson and 
John Reilly. "It's a wish and a prayer that 
those who wish to pursue this art and craft will 
continue to do so." 

The festival's decennary is a milestone for 
the field as a whole. Global Village attracted 
218 entries, out of which 36 were chosen. And 
they are strong stuff. The selections include a 
half-dozen works about right-wing regimes 
and/or US intervention in Central America 
and two critical assessments of the Israeli inva- 
sion of Lebanon — thus carrying on a long 
tradition which has taken documentarians 
from Manchuria and Spain to Algeria and 
Vietnam. There's also a good sampling of 
home-grown muckraking: reports on the 
homeless, the garment industry, chemical 
farming and racism. The festival also indicates 
that documentarians are continuing to in- 
novate form in the service of message, in such 
works as Juan Downey's non-linear Chicago 
Boys and Jaime Davidovich's Evita: A Video 
Scrapbook. Global Village hopes to tour the 
festival later this year. 

Perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised at this 
trove of material. After all, the documentary's 
historical calling has always been — and remains 
today — to rise up during times of crisis. 

— Renee Tajima 

Campus Crusade Mounts 
A Distribution Miracle 

Independents, especially those working in 
social issue documentary, often wonder how 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



to obtain foreign distribution. Some of the 
hardest areas to crack are Third World coun- 
tries — regions where many indies have filmed 
but rarely succeeded in having their films 
shown. But one American group has done a 
miraculous job overcoming distribution ob- 
stacles around the world. Campus Crusade 
for Christ (CCC) has helped 140 million peo- 
ple see Jesus. 

CCC's film — simply entitled Jesus — tells 
the story of the life (and afterlife) of Jesus 
Christ from conception to crucifixion through 
resurrection and ascension. Based strictly on 
the Book of Luke, it was filmed in the Holy 
Land with native actors. No screen credits are 
given — it's the message that counts. 

Jesus has been dubbed into 81 languages, at 
a cost of $20,000 per translation, and has been 
shown in 85 countries (average audience: 
50,000). According to Jeffrey Nickel, Campus 
Crusade's international field representative, 
the goal is to have the film dubbed into 271 
languages, which will make it possible for 
95% of the world population to hear the 
Word — be it in Swahili, Kampuchean or 
Amoy. 

The two-hour film is often shown together 
with health clips to entire towns turning out to 
see their first movie. In India, Hindu leaders 
turned off street lights for several hours so the 
film could be shown to 40,000 while in Burma 
a crowd of 50,000 packed into an arena to see 
the film. 

All versions of the film (with the curious ex- 
ception of English) end with an invitation to 
receive Christ. Apparently, a lot of viewers 
RSVP, "Yes, delighted." After one showing 
to a South African audience of 300,000 there 
were 24,000 requests for more information on 
how to follow Christ. 

Campus Crusade is not only proclaiming 
and sharing the glory of the Savior — it's mak- 
ing money too. The film is sold under a "life of 
print" lease for $1,200. There are 1,600 
16mm, 47 35mm and 87 8mm prints currently 
in circulation overseas and almost 200 in the 
United States, all in 16mm. 

Various missionary organizations pay for 
prints themselves, and generally provide their 
own projection facilities — often just a sheet 
tacked onto a wall and a projector borrowed 
from a school 100 miles away. However, Cam- 
pus Crusade already has 100-200 film teams 
on every continent to assist the missionaries 
and it hopes to establish 2,000 more within the 
next three to five years. It will do this with 
funds from private contributors, mostly 
North American. Contributions range from 
as little as five dollars to several million given 
by wealthy, devout individuals. 

CCC emphasizes the power of prayer and 
Bible study. "For only God, not humans, can 
change the world," claims Janice Nickel, the 
Jesus communications coordinator. "We try 
to teach acceptance of the world God has 
made, and that the only battle worth fighting 
is the spiritual battle." (Evidently, some peo- 
ple living in areas where other battles are rag- 
ing are amenable to this message — in 1981, 
8 




"Our guest today is God, who' 
to talk about the new film 
starring his son.'' 

CCC claims, it converted 40,000 
Guatemalans.) 

Can other independents hope to share Cam- 
pus Crusade's success? It will take something 
more tangible than a miracle — namely, 
money. For now, the only road to successful 
Third World distribution seems paved with 
substantial donations, although a few friends in 
government can help, too. And then there's the 
power of prayer . . . — Deborah Erickson 

Tribute to Tatsukawa: 
LA Activist Remembered 

February 27, 1984. Steve Tatsukawa died at 
the age of 35 of a sudden illness in Los 
Angeles. In his life Steve worked tirelessly to 
uplift the Asian/Pacific communities and 
people of color and to promote racial justice. 
He was a key mover and shaker in Visual 
Communications (serving as its executive 




Steven J. Tatsukawa on the set of Hito-Hata: Raise the 
Banner. 



director and executive producer of Hito Hata: 
Raise the Banner), the Southern California 
Media Society (SCAMS), the National Asian 
American Telecommunications Association 
(NAATA), the UCLA Ethno-Communica- 
tions Program, the Gidra newspaper, East- 
wind magazine, and gave countless hours to 
community struggles around multicultural 
studies, workers rights, the fight to save Little 
Tokyo, and much more. 

Steve was loved and respected for his 
warmth and imaginative quick wit which 
could make even riding the subway a comic 
event. He was spontaneous combustion. No 
one will ever forget his performances with the 
Visual Communications punk rock band 
Lack-a-Tones (gargling his favorite standard 
"Mr. Blue") or his devastating performances 
on the Visual Communications softball team. 
And Steve formed special creative bonds with 
his fellow filmmakers — as a brilliant Groucho 
to Duane Kubo's Zeppo, and as a look-a-like 
John Lennon to Chris Choy's Yoko Ono — in- 
troducing a generation of us to the 10-pin ac- 
tion at the Hollywood Bowl in Crenshaw. 

This rare humor infused Steve's writing— 
and in that talent we can see the full measure 
of his selfless commitment. Steve could have 
been one rich screenwriter (selling scripts on 
the beach, as he liked to say). Few people 
know that Steve had already broken through 
Hollywood's race barriers on his own — selling 
his work to the popular television show Alice 
and winning a prestigious screenwriting com- 
petition sponsored by Hollywood's major 
studios. But he chose instead to devote his life 
and talents to alternative media and his com- 
munity. His ad copy abilities (he was once a 
junior exec with BBD&O) went to "Save Little 
Tokyo" slogans, funding proposals and ad- 
vocacy pieces. More recently, as the director 
of program development for KCET-LA (and 
thus probably one of the highest-ranking 
Asian American public television executives in 
the country), Steve was "our man on Sunset 
Boulevard," maneuvering within the system 
for Third World and independent producers. 

Steve was to be married this June to the 
talented graphic artist Qris Yamashita. We 
would have seen him in April at the NAATA 
board meeting — a break from spring training 
before the Asian/Pacific softball tournies. 
And he had great plans for the organizations 
he nurtured and inspired. Yet Steve was not 
the type to dominate in his leadership, and 
these organizations will keep moving forward 
in the able hands of those worked beside him 
all these years. We will miss Steve dearly, but 
we all promise to continue his work well, in the 
spirit with which he lived his life. 

The Steve Tatsukawa Memorial Fund is be- 
ing established to celebrate and continue 
Steve's diverse interest in media, Asian Pacific 
studies and a more humane society. Those in- 
terested in making a contribution should write 
a check to The Steve Tatsukawa Memorial 
Fund, c/o Visual Communications, 244 So. 
San Pedro #309, Los Angeles, CA 90012. 

— RT m 

MAY 1984 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



SUPERS 



Bridging Language Gap 
With Low-Tech Ingenuity 



TONI TREADWAY & BOB BRODSKY 

More and more independent films are find- 
ing their way into international exhibition (if 
not distribution), and still more would find 
receptive audiences abroad if the language 
barriers could be more easily overcome. Leap- 
ing the language barriers has traditionally 
been accomplished by filmmakers in one of 
four ways: by making films without language 
that needs translation; by making subtitled 
prints; by replacing native language tracks 
with appropriate foreign language tracks or by 
laying another language right on top of the 
native track; or by limiting international ex- 
hibition to native-language audiences. We'll 
skip any discussion of the last route because 
that's what international exhibition usually 
seeks to overcome. 

The art of making films that do not need 
language translation has been much overlooked 
during the past 50 years. In a recent interview 
nonagenarian actress Lillian Gish said, 
"There never was such a thing as silent film." 
Early directors did not have the audio record- 
ing technology to enable them to use location 
sounds, so theater owners hired musicians. 
"When films learned to talk," said Gish, "we 
lost 95% of our audience because only 5% of 
the world speaks English." 

Having always worked in a talkative docu- 
mentary mode, we decided to try making a 
film with an international soundtrack. The 
opportunity and the incentive came last winter 
when we were in France. After being moved 
by the ravages of the D-Day invasion still com- 
ing up through the sands of Normandy, we 



made a short film about D-Day — its signi- 
ficance then and now. (Lately, European 
peace advocates have used WWII anniver- 
saries as occasions to speak out on armament 
issues.) Although we originally wrote a narra- 
tive poem to accompany the images, in the end 
we settled on a version intelligible to speakers 
of any language. Without a word on the 
soundtrack, the film resonates with the am- 
biance of past and present: the bells and 
children's choir of Rouen Cathedral, pedes- 
trians' and soldiers' voices, sea-sounds from 
the Channel, and all the cachophony of the 
1944 war. We feel the film is stronger without 
words, and are receiving a surprising number 
of requests for screenings abroad. 

Independent filmmakers with language- 
sensitive films also have some economical sub- 
titling options open to them. We saw a truly 
elegant presentation at the Montreal Super-8 
Festival, a portrait of Brazilian filmmaker 
Carlos Porto de Andrade, Jr., by Jean Hamel 
and Sylvain Bernier. The film was in Portu- 
guese; directly below the film frame on the 
screen appeared the clearest subtitles we have 
ever seen. The whole presentation was carried 
off with utmost simplicity. 

Here's how they did it . Once the filmmakers 
had translated Porto de Andrade's commen- 
tary, they typed up the appropriate phrases as 
they might appear in subtitle form on ordinary 
white typewriter paper. Then, using strong 
light, they photographed these subtitles with a 
35mm single lens reflex camera, loaded with 
Kodak Technical Pan film #2415. They rated 



the film at E . 1 . 1 00 in order to get extreme con- 
trast between the letters and the white paper. 
The film was then developed in Kodak D-19 
for maximum density in the black (the white 
paper). A little testing and they were home 
free. The black-and-white negatives, mounted 
and projected as slides from a manually oper- 
ated slide projector, showed no outline of the 
frame. The lettering would simply appear and 
disappear. Because it was below the image, the 
subtitling did not call attention to any part of 
the picture, as sometimes happens with over- 
laid subtitles. In an audience of 200, only two 
people said the subtitles were too far away 
from the head of the speaker. The rest of us 
were delighted with the result. 

A UTOMA TIC SLIDE AD VANCE? 

This system of subtitling is undoubtedly the 
least expensive route to go across language 
barriers with a film, but it requires someone 
who knows both languages and has had time 
to review the film and practice changing the 
slides before a public screening. This may not 
be as difficult as it seems. Bernier is now work- 
ing on a system of encoding a pulse on the bal- 
ance stripe of S-8 film to automatically trigger 
the slide (subtitle) advance. This may be more 
difficult than it seems. 

First of all, some sort of pulse/encoding 
equipment must be selected. There are lots of 
these units available around audio-visual sup- 
pliers, but they vary widely in their ability to 
decode one another's pulses. In addition to 
the expense of the pulse unit, you might have 
to ship it around with the film and the slides. 

Secondly, there is the decades-old problem 
of isolating inexpensive slide-triggering de- 
vices from spurious powerline pulses. Ekta- 
graphic slide projectors are well shielded from 
these pulses, but Kodak Carousel projectors 
(the black consumer versions of the Ekta- 
graphics) are not. The chances of getting an 
unsuitable projector at the exhibition end and 
of having all the subtitles zip by unintentional- 
ly are far more likely with an automatic pulse 
system than in a once-rehearsed manual 
system. 




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Are you going to the movies? 



MAY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



We prefer subtitling to dubbing a transla- 
tion over the audio tracks, except when it is 
done on a discrete soundtrack (as it can be on 
the magnetic balance stripe of S-8 soundfilm). 
Then, and only then, can the dub track be 
equalized and leveled separately from the 
main audio according to the needs of each ex- 
hibition space so the audience can tune either 
soundtrack in or out. Successful dubbing and 
exhibition of a dubbed film requires at least as 
much effort as Bernier/Hamel subtitles, and 
lots more money. 

LIVE NARRATOR 

Preferable to dubbing, at least for many in- 
dependent films, is the practice of placing a 
person in the audience who can, with accuracy 
and spirit, give a live translation. The person 
must have seen the film several times and be 
quite familiar with its content and style. 
Several years ago we had the pleasure of being 
present at a unique screening of Jean Rouch's 
Cocorico, Monsieur Poulet (Cockadoodledoo, 
Mr. Chicken). The film is in French and other 
languages; the audience was English- 
speaking. Rouch himself was present, and, 
equipped with an RE-50 microphone, pro- 
ceeded to narrate the outrageous cross- 
cultural goings-on with the fullness of the 



Rouch personality. We sat in the middle of a 
large theatre with a Shure M67 mixer, con- 
trolling the volume of the film soundtrack; 
when Rouch would begin to expound, we'd 
drop the soundtrack slightly. We had no 
rehearsal. Rouch's mike volume was con- 
stant, but when he wanted to say something to 
a companion and not broadcast about the 
hall, he would just leave the hand-held RE-50 
(a handling noise-resistant mike) in his lap. It 
was as close to live theater as ethnographic 
film may ever become. Afterwards the 
French-speaking minority at the screening 
said they had had the best of several worlds. 
The most important consideration in hurdl- 
ing the language barrier is to enable the film to 
land intact on the other side. It never does 
completely, not only because of the visual or 
aural competition created by either subtitling 
or dubbing, but because all translations from 
one culture to another are imperfect. But if 
you cart transport even some facts, some emo- 
tions, some appreciations over cultural bar- 
riers, it is worth the effort. ■ 

Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway are the 
authors of Super 8 in the Video Age, which 
was just translated into Spanish. Treadway 
serves on the board of the Boston Film/ Video 
Foundation. 



LEGAL TALK 



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FILM MAKING: 
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Richard Kaplan 

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Financial SeUUpss 
The Not-for-profit 



PAULA R. SCHAAP 

Have film property, will travel. A fictitious 
Variety ad, but an accurate description of an 
independent filmmaker ready to produce his 
or her first feature-length film. (We've dub- 
bed our fledgling producer "Wheeler Dealer" 
after his or her self-proclaimed image.) 
Wheeler has the rights to an unknown yet 
brilliant novel, or a new talented screenwriter 
under contract, or an idea for a timely, pro- 
vocative documentary. Now Wheeler's real 
task begins: raising money. 

Like many people, Wheeler views financing 
a film as something of an afterthought to the 
creative process. So Wheeler signs over his 
trust fund and inveigles a few thousand out of 
Old Aunt Peg, only to discover that the sums 
necessary for even a low-budget production 
make it impossible to move forward without 
careful advance planning. Wheeler's choice of 
financing options will not only govern the 
amount of money available to him, it will also 
affect the very nature of his film. 

Wheeler's first consideration should be 
whether he wants his film to be "not-for- 
profit" or "for profit." This decision will de- 
MAY19B4 



pend to a great extent on what kind of film he 
intends to make, for different films appeal to 
different funding sources. In this Part I of a 
two-part article, we'll look at the not-for- 
profit situation. 

Take the case of Mississippi Triangle. The 
film documents the struggle of a century-old 
Chinese community in northern Mississippi 
to maintain its ethnic cohesion in a modern, 
integrated society. Allan Siegel, one of its 
directors, noted that documentaries generally 
do not make money and are therefore less ap- 
pealing to private investors. The best route for 
his film was through grants because "the 
theme of Mississippi Triangle was close to the 
National Endowment for the Humanities ob- 
jectives, so they became the most likely funding 
source for the project." 

"Not-for-profit" does not mean that 
Wheeler's movie cannot make a profit. It does 
mean that the participants in the film will 
not be able to share in its profits (which must 
be reinvested instead of used for personal ag- 
grandizement). Ditto for the people who con- 
tribute money to the film. It is perfectly 




— \ 
11 



THE INDEPENDENT 




"Once we've found the right financial set-up, we can also provide some rather unique fundraising ideas. 



legitimate, however, for the members of the 
production company, the director, cast, and 
so forth, to take reasonable salaries from the 
profits. And the people who contribute cash 
and materials to the film may take a charitable 
tax deduction, if — and only if — the not-for- 
profit corporation which produced the film 
has been declared tax-exempt by the IRS. 

Once Wheeler has decided that his film is 
best funded through tax-deductible contribu- 
tions and grants, he should take certain legal 
steps. First, he should set up a not-for-profit 
corporation. The incorporation process is 
relatively simple, inexpensive (in New York, 
expect to spend $100-150, not including 
lawyers' fees), and can usually be completed 
within a few months. Wheeler's not-for-profit 
corporation must be registered in the state 
where it will be doing business. Each state has 
its own requirements and a lawyer should be 
consulted. If Wheeler cannot afford a lawyer, 
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA), which 
has chapters around the country, can provide 
legal assistance free or at a reduced fee. VLA 
will handle incorporation only for not-for-profit 
groups. 

It is possible to operate as a not-for-profit 
organization without being a corporation, but 
it is usually advisable to incorporate. Cor- 
porate status protects those who act on behalf 
of the corporation from certain kinds of 
liability. Additionally, it is more likely that 
foundations and other grant-giving agencies 
will take a project seriously if it has incor- 
porated. 

Wheeler does not have to wait for the state 
to confirm his corporate status before he 
begins doing business. In New York, he can 
operate as "Wheeler Productions, doing 
business as a corporation" in the interim. 
Similar provisions exist in other states. 

The second step is applying to the IRS for 
12 



tax-exempt status. Some of the advantages to 
tax-exemption are (l) it expands the field of 
grants that Wheeler can apply for (some foun- 
dations will only award grants to organiza- 
tions that are tax-exempt, while others require 
only not-for-profit status); (2) the income pro- 
duced by the film is generally not taxable; and 
(3) a private contributor can take a charitable 
tax deduction for the amounts donated to the 
project. The Internal Revenue Code specifies 
that tax-exempt status will be granted only to 
certain kinds of corporations. Among others, 
these include corporations operated exclusive- 
ly for religious, charitable, scientific, literary 
or educational purposes. 

Are there any circumstances under which 
Wheeler should not apply for a tax exemp- 
tion? Yes: if he does not have time to wait for 
an IRS ruling, which can take up to a year. But 
if Wheeler does not request tax-exempt 
status — or if the IRS denies it to him — his in- 
vestors will not be able to take a tax deduction 
and his film income will be taxed. 

The June I2th Film Group, which produced 
In Our Hands, a documentary about the 1982 
peace rally in Central Park, did not seek tax- 
exempt status. The need to shoot and produce 
the film within a short time frame militated 
against waiting for an IRS ruling. 

What the June I2th Film Group did, 
according to producer Robert Richter, was to 
operate under an umbrella organization, the 
Film Fund. The Film Fund has tax-exempt 
status, and therefore can funnel grants and 
tax -deductible donations to projects which it 
has agreed to sponsor. 

DEALING WITH YOUR UMBRELLA 

Umbrella organizations such as the Film 
Fund perform another important function for 
their projects. For a fee, which is deducted 
from the film's grant, the umbrella will act as a 



fiscal agent, overseeing the film's fiscal and 
accounting operations. 

Wheeler must realize that he may lose some 
control over his project if he works through a 
sponsor, because the sponsor is ultimately re- 
sponsible for the content of its projects. It is 
wise to have a written agreement with the um- 
brella organization so that there is no mis- 
understanding as to who owns rights to the 
film, or what kind of film it will be. 

Wheeler must also expect to lose some con- 
trol if he goes directly to private foundations 
or government funding sources. A project 
must be tailored to the granting agency's 
guidelines if it is to stand a chance of con- 
sideration. 

Another well-known drawback to seeking 
funds through the not-for-profit route is that 
foundations and government agencies are 
highly susceptible to politics. Allan Siegel 
noted that because NEH places a high priority 
on the subject matter of the projects it funds, 
it has been affected by changes in the political 
climate. The National Endowment for the 
Arts, on the other hand, uses artists' peer 
review panels to evaluate applications. Siegel 
therefore feels that the NEA is somewhat 
more resistant to political concerns. 

Recently, it was announced that the staff of 
the New York State Council for the Arts was 
being cut, so that projects would receive a 
more cursory review than had been the prac- 
tice in the past. The Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting, one of the prime funding 
sources for independent filmmakers, is now 
decentralized. Although CPB decentraliza- 
tion allows each station to concentrate more 
heavily on local projects, many filmmakers 
feel that there has also been increased com- 
petition for reduced funds. 

Once Wheeler has his not-for-profit cor- 
poration in place, he must conduct its affairs 
in accordance with applicable statutes. If not, 
the individuals involved in corporate business 
may lose their protection from liability. 
Likewise, if Wheeler has been granted tax- 
exempt status by the IRS, he must be careful 
to operate within the IRS guidelines or risk 
losing his tax exemption. 

The great day finally comes when the mon- 
ey starts to flow in from foundations and high- 
minded people. Now Wheeler, secure in tax- 
exempt, not-for-profit status, can begin pro- 
duction of his film, dreaming of the day when 
he and Robert Flaherty are mentioned in the 
same breath. Next month's Independent will 
follow Wheeler through a different kind of 
financing : the for-profit feature film. ■ 

Paula R. Schaap is a writer and entertainment 
lawyer. 

Author's note: This article is presented only for 
the purposes of educating the independent film- 
maker in some basic legal principles. It is not to be 
taken as legal advice. Every financing situation is 
different, the law constantly changes, and the laws 
in each state can vary widely. The independent film- 
maker should, therefore, always consult his or her 
attorney before undertaking any course that may 
have legal ramifications. 

MAY 1984 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



Sweet Stereo 
Sounds in the Field 



High-fidelity, low-budget 

approach to rethinking sound design 

for later mixing to two channels. 

JOHN BISHOP 

High fidelity sound is catching up with the 
moving image. Videodiscs, BETA-HIFI and 
the new VHS-HIFI videotapes can put "Dolby 
stereo" quality on home video systems, and 
the FCC will soon approve hifi standards for 
general television broadcast. Film and video- 
makers have always lavished more care on 
their soundtracks than videotape or optical 
tracks could reproduce, so these are welcome 
developments. Working in stereo, however, 
requires some rethinking of sound design, 
particularly for low-budget documentaries. 

When I began working on New England Fid- 
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traditional musicians in the Northeast, I decided 
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Other than a few big-budget rock-and-roll 
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sound is new territory for 16mm and I could 
find few models for how to do it. I consulted 
Stuart Cody, a great innovator in documentary 
sound, who owns a mixing studio in Boston (490 
Green St., Cambridge MA 02139). He was very 
enthusiastic about trying a stereo mix, and ad- 
vised me on how to record stereo sound in the 
field. 

The mechanics of making a stereo film are 
similar to working in mono. Sound was re- 
corded on a stereo Nagra at 15 ips. The tapes 
were resolved to 16mm fullcoat with the right 
channel on the edge track and left channel on a 
center track. And the edited tracks were mixed 
against the picture onto edge/center fullcoat. 
The differences are how you handle two mi- 
crophones and channels in the initial record- 
ing, and how you mix to two channels instead 
of one. 

But what does stereo mean? 

Theoretically, you can mix a stereo sound- 
track for a film from elements recorded in 
mono by placing each voice and effect on the 
appropriate side of the screen. For many 
documentaries, it may be most practical to 
shoot in mono but then use stereo music and 
enhancements in post-production. For exam- 
ple, a gunshot can sound on-screen from the 
right and ricochet on the left. A railroad train 
recorded in mono can be faded up on the left, 
panned to both channels, and faded out on the 
right as the train disappears from the screen. 

Stereo on records (which is most people's 
14 



experience with stereo) is synthesized from 
mono sources, each instrument on a discrete 
track. During the mix each voice is placed in 
space by panning it proportionally to the right 
and left channels. This system works only if 
the sound sources are isolated from each 
other. If they are not, phase differences be- 
tween what each microphone picks up begin 
cancelling out parts of the music when they are 
blended. 

W HA TALO VEL Y COUPLE! 

Adapting this system of recording stereo 
film sound has several disadvantages. On 
location, it is difficult to isolate microphones. 
A fiddler and guitarist playing in a living 
room, for example, cannot be separated 
adequately no matter how close and direc- 
tional the mikes. When using more than two 
mikes and a two-channel recorder, the sound- 
person has to do a live mix without seeing the 
picture. And this style of recording does not 
capture the sound coloration and spatiality of 
the particular room. 

The alternative is to use a microphone 
arrangement that reproduces the soundspace 
in a way that is resonant with what the camera 
sees. This is the essence of documentary 
sound. Cody recommended a "coincident 
stereo pair" — in my case, two Sennheiser 
ME-40 directional microphones crossed at 
right angles on their diaphragms. The left side 
of the right mike pick-up and the right side of 
the left mike pick-up are redundant, thereby 
placing the principal sound in the center. The 
right of the right and left of the left will be sen- 
sitive to different room reflections and off- 
axis sound sources, which gives stereo 
presence (see diagram). Cody explained that if 
I separated the microphones, phase cancella- 
tions would cause unpredictable holes in the 
reproduced soundspace. The coincident pair 
comes very close to the way we actually hear: 
after all, our ears are separated by only a few 
inches. 

In mono the picture and sound emanate 
from the same point. The sound stays with the 
picture, and the recordist follows the camera. 
Stereo sound has a spatial dimension that 
removes it from the screen. The sound hangs 
in front of the picture. Unconsciously the au- 



dience senses the dimensions around the im- 
age. When the camera pans, the sound does 
not always have to pan with it. Using a coinci- 
dent pair, the soundperson has a choice of 
tracking and moving with the camera or main- 
taining fixed sound coordinates. In the latter 
case, the sound coordinates can be realigned 
in the mix to follow the picture geometry. 

With a coincident pair, the sound blend is 
entirely dependent on mike placement. The 
only way to get the best sound is to move the 
mike around and try lots of angles. Sometimes 
a change of only a few feet makes all the dif- 
ference. For music, my recordists Robbie 
Leppzer and Lynn Cadwallader usually set the 
mikes up on a stand after experimenting to 
find the optimal placement. 

For New England Fiddles it was most im- 
portant to record the music in stereo. How- 
ever, since the musicians tended to alternate 
between talking and playing, and it would 
have been awkward to change recording set- 
ups for speech, much of the spoken word was 
also recorded in stereo. We carried a mono 
Nagra with a Sennheiser 41 5 mike as a back- 
up, and when it seemed that there would be a 
lot of dialogue, Robbie or Lynn would switch 
from 15 ips stereo to IVi ips mono. 

There is little difference between editing a 
stereo film and a mono film. The fine points of 
stereo imaging are not an issue in making a 
rough cut and refining the program content. 
The editing table I used had only edge track 
heads, so I could only hear the right channel 
anyway. Later I rented a switchable stereo 
head that could combine the two channeL or 
play either one separately. That enabled me to 
check exactly what was on each track. 




Paddy Cronin in New England Fiddles; note coincident 
stereo mikes. Chart shows response pattern of two car- 
dioid mikes crossed at 90° on their diaphragms, a 
coincident stereo pair. 

MAY 1984 



SOUND IN SPACE 

When the picture was locked up, I broke 
down the two edited tracks into two music 
tracks (stereo) and two voice tracks (mixed 
stereo and mono). I also built two effects 
tracks consisting mostly of mono sound ef- 
fects and ambience. As part of this process, I 
wrote out the cue sheets for the sound mix. 
This is essentially the same procedure as 
preparing for a mono mix, except that the cue 
sheets must have notes delineating the spatial 
placement of each sound. For example, some 
cows come in from screen left, so the mooing 
and scuffling of the cows (mono) had to be 
panned in from the left. 

To increase the sense of space in some sec- 
tions, I put different (but similar) background 
ambience on each of the effects tracks. In a 
nightclub scene, the sound of people talking 
and glasses clinking on the right speaker is dif- 
ferent from that on the left; likewise the ap- 
plause is different on the right and left chan- 
nels. This juxtaposing of mono elements can 
sometimes be more effective than using stereo 
background sounds. 

The limiting factor in doing a stereo mix is 
the number of dubbers equipped with stereo 
heads and amplifiers. Stuart Cody had only 
two, and I had four strands of stereo material, 
so we mixed the film in two passes. 

On the first pass we mixed the voice tracks 
and some effects onto tracks A&B of a 35mm 
four-track master roll. This included placing 
voices and effects relative to screen position 
and panning as the screen geometry changed. 
Then the film was rewound and the music 
tracks put on the stereo dubbers. We went 
through the film again, mixing the music and a 
few more effects onto the two open master 
tracks (C&D). 

A SMOOTH BLEND 

I wanted subtle stereo effects rather than 
ping-pong stereo. The purpose of going stereo 
was to get a fuller presence and spatiality, not 
dramatic separation. With each bit of sound I 
considered the following: 

1) Which channels to use. Sometimes the 
stereo is optimal as recorded; in other cases it 
sounds better to reverse the channels (right to 
left). Another section might sound best if the 
right and left are blended so that part of the 
right goes to the left and vice versa. And in 
other cases, you get the best sound by using 
only one channel panned to both tracks and 
dropping the other. 

2) The normal mixing variables such as 
relative level, enhancements, equalization, 
compression/expansion and so on. 

3) The position of the sound in space, in- 
cluding panning the sound as the scene 
changes. 

If two people are talking, the one on the 
right side of the screen should be heard from 
the right speaker. You become accustomed to 
hearing that person from the right. When you 
move to a close-up, however, the sound coor- 
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THE INDEPENDENT 



PRINCIPLES £ RESOLUTIONS 
OF THE ASSOCIATION 



AIVF FOUNDING PRINCIPLES 



1. The Association is a trade association 
of and for independent video and film- 
makers. 

2. The Association encourages ex- 
cellence, commitment and independence; 
it stands for the principle that video and 
filmmaking is more than just a job — it 
goes beyond economics to involve the ex- 
pression of broad human values. 

3. The Association works, though the 
combined efforts of its membership, to 
provide practical, informational and 
moral support for independent video and 
filmmakers and is dedicated to ensuring 
the survival of, and providing for, the 
continuing growth of independent video 
and filmmaking. 

4. The Association does not limit its sup- 
port to one genre, ideology or aesthetic, 
but furthers diversity of vision in artistic 
and social consciousness. 

5. The Association champions indepen- 
dent video and film as valuable and vital 
expressions of our culture and is deter- 
mined, by mutual action, to open path- 
ways toward exhbition of this work to the 
communitv at large. 



AIVF RESOLUTIONS 



1. To affirm the creative use of media in 
fostering cooperation, community and 
justice in human relationships without 
respect to age, sex, race, class or religion. 

2. To recognize and reaffirm the freedom 
of expression of the independent film and 
videomaker, as spelled out in the AIVF 
principles. 

„?. To promote constructive dialogue and 
heightened awareness among the 
membership of the social, artistic and per- 
sonal choices involved in the pursuit of 
both independent and sponsored work, 
via such mechanisms as screenings and 
forums. 

4. To continue to work !o strengthen 
AIVF 's services to independents, in order 
to help reduce the membership's 
dependence on the kinds of sponsorship 
which encourage the compromise of per- 
sonal values. 



dinates should also move so that the voice 
comes from the center. For transitions, you 
can bring in a piece of music or a voiceover 
from one side of the screen, arriving on center 
as the picture cuts into sync. 

The 35mm master roll provides a mono 
track when all four channels are blended and a 
stereo track when A&C go to the left and B&D 
go to the right. It is third generation sound 
(original tape to fullcoat to edited master) and 
is used to make the optical film track and for 
transfer to a video master. I also made a mono 
and a stereo 16mm fullcoat track to use in in- 
terlock screenings. 

The premiere screening of New England 
Fiddles was the kind of experience that makes 
being a filmmaker worthwhile. Stuart Cody 
and John Terry spent four hours installing a 
900-watt arc light theater projector, interlock 
stereo dubber, power amplifiers and speakers 
in a 500-seat lecture hall. The image (a print 
from the A&B rolls) was huge, bright and rock 
steady and every nuance of the soundtrack 
was heard. 16mm films should always look 
and sound so good. 

FUTURE FORMATS 

But what do I do with my stereo film now? 

New England Fiddles was conceived as a 
project for videodisc. In addition to the half- 
hour film, there is a second half-hour of per- 
formances. It is the kind of material that can 
be watched straight through or examined in 
detail, and videodisc has the required picture/ 
sound fidelity and viewing flexibility for both. 
But waiting for videodisc to become economi- 
cally viable is like waiting for Godot. 

Instead, Fiddles will be released in the new 
BETA and VHS HIFI cassettes which encode 
audio in the video tracks. When the 16mm 
CRI printing master is transferred to 1 " video, 
the 35mm master soundtrack will be interlocked, 
and the stereo put on the two tracks of the 1 " 
videotape. There is some loss of sound quality 
on 1 " and as a protection, a time-coded four- 
track audiotape will be made during the 
transfer as well. Theoretically this audiotape 
can be used as the sound source for videodisc 
mastering and HIFI tape dubbing. In current 



practice, however, BETA-HIFI sound is dub- 
bed directly from 1 " video masters (even for 
Michael Jackson's Thriller). 

The stereo tracks (in lower fidelity) can also 
be heard on VHS and V* " cassettes which have 
dual soundtracks. For broadcast and cable, 
stereo can only be heard if the track is simul- 
cast on FM. This can be done using the stereo 
tracks on the 1 " tape. In the near future 
American television will be routinely transmit- 
ted in stereo (stereo-ready television sets are 
currently being marketed). 

Showing film prints of New England Fid- 
dles with the stereo track will always require 
either interlock facilities as described above or 
a Sonorex double band projector with an edge/ 
center head and stereo amplifier. 16mm re- 
lease prints have a normal optical track which 
meets the needs of most audiences and match- 
es the equipment of all screening facilities. 
The film has already been booked by several 
theaters in New England. Because of the care 
that went into the stereo track, the optical 
track sounds great too (only those of us who 
have been close to the production know it 
could sound even better). It's a nice musical 
experience either way. 

So was it worth the trouble? Would I do it 
again? I'd say yes on both counts. Whether 
it's videodisc, videotape or broadcast, hifi 
sound will be expected of tomorrow's media. 
Working in stereo didn't cost any more and 
my film can be dropped onto videodisc tomor- 
row or mastered to a high-definition stereo 
video format in the future. Now I wouldn't 
consider shooting music without recording 
stereo sound, and would probably mix a 
stereo track even for documentaries where the 
original sound is mono. 

I am interested in hearing from other people 
working on stereo in films and videos. Please 
contact me at Media Generation, 917 East 
Broadway, Haverhill, MA 01830, (617) 
372-0458. ■ 

John Bishop is an independent producer 
who has worked in both film and video. His 
other productions include Choose Life, The 
Land Where the Blues Began, Yoyo Man and 
Rhesus Play. 





Association of Independent 


Barbara Kopple 


George Stoney 


Video and Filmmakers. Inc. 


independent producer 


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David Lubell 


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Dan Talbot 


Ed Asner 


Emile de Antonio 


Midge MacKenzie 


New Yorker Films 


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producer 


Jesus Trevino 


John Avildsen 


Dou Dou Diene 


Brock Peters 


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Claudia Weill 


Erik Barnouw 


Ralph Donnelly 


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Wesleyan University 
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London Film Festival 


Children's Television 


Film Society, 


Fran Spielman 




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Lincoln Center 


First Run Features 





16 



MAY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Choreographers Who 
Make Film Move 

Pooh Kaye, Johanna Boyce & Sally Silvers, 

three young post-modern choreographers, explore 

film as an expressive extension of movement possibilities. 

DARYL CHIN 



Three of the most inventive young choreog- 
raphers at work today — Pooh Kaye, Johanna 
Boyce and Sally Silvers — are exploring cine- 
matic values in a choreographic context. Al- 
though many choreographers work with film, 
Kaye's, Boyce's and Silvers' interest in move- 
ment derives from sources other than tradi- 
tional dance technique. Starting from the 
precepts of "ordinary movement" (say, sit- 
ting or walking) and "task performance" 
(scrubbing, digging), the three have evolved 
highly individualized expressive techniques. 
Summing up the current interest in the con- 
junction of film and choreography, Johanna 
Boyce said: "Contemporary experimental 
choreographers are looking for ways to ex- 
press the same old things in a new voice or with 
new perspectives. Film is a relatively new ex- 
tension of movement possibilities, so it's not 
surprising that so many people are interested 
in it." 

Kaye's films in both Super-8 and 16mm are 
whimsical, deeply humorous studies of fan- 
tastic activities, often played out with objects. 
Boyce's films animate objects like a puppeteer 
and manipulate pre-existing "found move- 
ments." Gravitating to live performance, 
Silvers has danced in and around film, explor- 
ing the parameters of actual and recorded mo- 
tion in collaborations with filmmakers Henry 
Hills, Abigail Child and Mr. "E." In the 
following interviews, the three 
choreographers discuss their work with film. 

POOH KAYE 
ENVIRONMENTAL HUMOR 

Pooh Kaye has been making films since 
1975. Last year, in collaboration with 
Elisabeth Ross, she completed her first 16mm 
film. Previously Kaye created a series of 
distinctive and eccentric S-8 films, all of which 
were "solo " in the most complete sense, fea- 
turing Kaye as lone performer, cameraperson 
and editor. In these films, which she calls The 
Wild Girl series, Kaye utilizes different film 
speeds to mythologize wholly fanciful flights 
of movement, such as attempting to climb up 
a pillar or swimming while lying over the arms 
of a wooden chair. The entirely self-contained 
production of these films lends them an 
almost autistic integrity. Her collaborative 
film, Sticks on the Move (1983), shows Kaye 
expanding her cinematic concerns to include a 
MAY 1984 




Pooh Kaye & Elisabeth Ross' Sticks on the Move: 
"Everything the camera does is impossible in real life." 

wide cast of performers in a broad range of ac- 
tivities which always center movement in rela- 
tion to objects. Kaye is currently working on 
her second 16mm film, Bringing Home the 
Bacon. 

"In 1975 my closest friend, Marcia Resnick, 
told me I should buy a camera and record all 
the endless activities I did to entertain myself 
in my loft. I took her advice, and started mak- 
ing films. 

"I would spend hours figuring out angles, 
and what was inside the image of the camera. 



Since I was recording myself, I didn't use a 
cameraperson. I would improvise within given 
structures. These were the Wild Girl films. 
Going Outside [1982] was a transitional film; I 
was becoming more involved with film in a 
traditional sense, and I Was very conscious of 
making scenes in that one. 

"There's been a very linear progression: 
learning what happens to image and action 
within the confines of the rectangle of the 
camera. In the last four years [I've begun to 
learn] editing; before that I would just shoot, 
and that was the film. Then I started thinking 
about editing before shooting something. 

"Changing to 16mm wasn't a big deal. Sud- 
denly you have to use a light meter, it costs a 
lot more, and there's a lot more opportunity 
to do post-production , but you're still respon- 
sible for a rectangle. The big thing was that I 
was now dealing with other performers. There 
was a large cast, a collaborator and a com- 
poser — that was heady. The film was shot in 
scenes, so I just had to connect them together: 
there wasn't much editing. But there was one 
scene which we shot incorrectly. We were sup- 
posed to have shot it pixilated, but we shot it in 
regular time. It looked different from the rest 
of the film, but it was still a wonderful 
scene — two people eating a piece of wood — so 
we decided to pixilate. 

"Initially, the speeded-up scenes started off 
as a mistake because I didn't know all the uses 
of my camera. But I liked the results very 
much, so I kept playing with it. At the same 
time, I was also very interested in [Eadweard] 
Muybridge['s work] which has a pixilated 
quality: individual photographs that make a 
bumpy kind of continuous motion when 
hooked up. When you pixilate, the effect is 
like taking still photographs and hooking 
them up to each other because you drop out so 
much information. 

"The camera can do things plastically that 
are not possible in performance. Everything it 
does, in fact, is not possible in real life. It puts 
a frame on everything. Although my films 
tend to be slightly more narrative than my per- 
formances, both are based on the human body 
interacting with its environment. I'm basically 
interested in the animated world, the living 
body and the objects that surround it . I'm par- 
ticularly interested in it on a slightly bizarre 
level, or in things that make me marvel, as op- 
posed to statements of reality. 

17 



"My S-8 films were much more fantastical 
and isolated. It was a huge pleasure making 
them. It was like walking into a fantasy that 
has both a mechanical and visceral reality 
because it's in the real world. Here you are 
loose in this box [the camera frame] — it's ex- 
citing! 

"Obviously, S-8 doesn't go very far. I have 
no intention of using it again, now that the 
16mm camera is no longer frightening. For 
me, the real pleasure is in making films; it's 
secondary where they go, how they succeed. 
But, of course, it's better if they have some 
communicative powers and if people can see 
them. Then, you're making something that's 
in some way a gift to the world." 

JOHANNA BOYCE: FOUND MOVEMENT 

Johanna Boyce has made four films in col- 
laboration with filmmaker John Schabel: 
Waiting (S-8, 1980), A Weekend Spent Film- 
ing It (S-8, 1980), Waterbodies (16mm, two- 
screen, 1982) and Bombshells (S-8, 1983). All 
four center on movement, although in widely 
varying contexts. A Weekend Spent Filming It 
derives from activities performed by the group 
with which Boyce has worked in her dances, 
while Bombshells is a collage film juxtaposing 
movement from a wide cross-section of TV 
images. The most elaborate film is Water- 
bodies, an evocative and mysterious dual- 
screen vision of underwater movements, 
choreographed by Boyce. Made up of shots 
taken from above and below the "swimmers, " 
the film echoes the actual water-logged 
movements of the performers. This film was 
part of a multimedia work presented in per- 
formance in the swimming pool of Duke 
University in Durham, North Carolina, dur- 
ing Boyce 's residency there with the American 
Dance Festival. Boyce is now shooting her 
first S-8 film without a collaborator. 

"My interest in dance started in college, and 
initially I didn't think of using film. Then 
when I came to New York I first used film to 
record my dances. Then it just happened 
naturally — once I saw the dances on film I 
thought, 'Well, why not start with film?' 

"Waterbodies was a way of seeing for us, 
because you can't look underwater most of 
the time. The camera really opened up more 
possibilities for doing things underwater. One 
problem with the piece was that you'd only see 
people from their waists up, as they appeared 
out of the water. You couldn't often see 
through the water because they would either 
be making waves or the lighting just wasn't 
enough to look under water. We decided that 
it would be really interesting to invert what 
was happening and present it above water. I 
had ideas about what it would look like, but I 
couldn't really know. There were two separate 
conceptions: one, 'Here's what's happening 
on top of the water — everybody's doing a 
dolphin move and this is what it will look like 
from up above'; and two, 'Now let's try film- 
ing it from underneath and see what that looks 
like.' Then we wanted them to be intercon- 
nected, so there was never anything happening 

18 




Johanna Boyce & John Schabel's Waterbodies: "It 
was a way of seeing for us." 

underwater that you didn't see above water. It 
was like two different stories going on, or one 
story with two views of it. 

"John Schabel spent a lot of time during 
our rehearsals with his underwater camera, 
saying, 'This looks great, let's try doing this.' 
Or, say, when we did a deadman's float, he'd 
comment, 'People blowing bubbles up 
around their faces look really neat from 
underwater, let's elongate that part!' 
Whatever was presented in the film would 
generally relate to what was happening in the 
water. A lot of people thought we actually had 
video cameras that were projecting what was 
happening onto a screen, because the live 
things and the film images were fairly well 



connected. John had the idea of a double 
screen, and from that moment, he shot with 
the aim of these things merging in the center, 
or not merging, or overlapping. 

"I like film's ability to capture 'found 
movements.' And, even though I was direct- 
ing, my first films were almost like people 
playing charades, people creating things un- 
selfconsciously, forgetting. . .Or they 
remembered that the camera was there but 
didn't specifically find movement for film, 
they discovered it for another purpose, like 
communicating a word. 

"Bombshells is a very direct development of 
found movement. It's seeing movement and 
then organizing it. All my choreography has 
that characteristic. My current workprints are 
from parades, playgrounds and animal train- 
ing schools. I can use film to speed up and slow 
down movement, or abstract it. But even 
beyond that, my interest is in film's ability to 
go outside the theater and the dance studio, 
and find movement that already has a specific 
function, and then create a new statement by 
juxtaposing it to other movements or other 
themes. 

"With my new film, I'm using my camera as 
much as I can to photograph anything that 
strikes my fancy — within the limits of 
economics. Now I'm mostly working with 
scenarios that are framed with a set camera, so 
that things roll on and off, like puppeteering. 
For example, one scene will have movements 
like an orange moving across a table or worms 
moving across a postcard of waterskiers: 
movement tableaux that aren't [peopled with] 
dancers, but are outside-propelled actions, or 
some kind of human manipulation of small 
things for the camera. It's like Alwin Nikolais 
creating movement motifs which obscure the 
human beings presenting it — it's another way 
creating motion and sequences without having 
a human fact or emotion present. 

"Ultimately, film helps me to clarify my in- 
terests. That's my interest in 'found move- 
ment' and in manipulating situations that 
have their own motivation. Film is a perfect 
medium for educating me more about reor- 
ganizing and juxtaposing things that already 
exist." 



SALLY SIL VERS: DANCE & FILM LIVE 

Sally Silvers began her choreographic 
career performing in many film-related venues 
such as Anthology Film Archives and the Col- 
lective for Living Cinema in New York. As a 
choreographer she has favored radical jux- 
tapositions, breaking down and editing move- 
ment phrases. Her work in film has been col- 
laborative: two films with Henry Hills 
(Plagiarism [ret it led Radio AdiosJ, 16mm, 
1982, and a work-in-progress tentatively titled 
Money, 16mm); a film with Abigail Child 
(Mutiny, 16mm, 1983), of which an unedited 
version was shown in concert under the name 
A Day in the Office; and most significantly, a 
multimedia collaboration with Mr. "E, " a 
New York-based avant-garde filmmaker 

MAY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



(Celluloid Sally and Mr. "E") which com- 
bines 8 and 16mm films along with live perfor- 
mance, and was first presented in April, 1983. 
Silvers notes that filmmaking is a natural ex- 
tension of her choreography which focuses on 
choppy movements that translate well into the 
discrete units and frames of film. 

"I was sought out as a collaborator for the 
films that I have appeared in. But for the film 
project with Mr. "E," I approached him 
because he doesn't show his work in public 
contexts, other than open film screenings. I 
knew about his work through Henry [Hills] 
and Abby [Child]; I had seen and liked it. 

"Film is more improvisational than dance. 
With Abigail, it was a question of going into 
an office and performing my piece (the very 
first I ever did) between desks, so I had three 
feet here and there. The problem was to per- 
form it in that public context in that limited 
space! Henry was more interested in getting 
backgrounds behind everything. He wanted 
crowds, outdoors, conflict. For him, I would 
go out with a list or improvise on the spot as he 
shot. 

"Mr. "E" animates things like comic 
books. I originally intended to learn the move- 
ments from one of his animated comic book 
series and then perform those movements 
while the film was projected. But we got 
distracted and never did that project, 
although we did do a film and dance perfor- 
mance. 

"Working with Mr. "E" I became in- 
terested in the problem of presenting a film 
and dance performance simultaneously. 
There's a consensus that it just doesn't work. 
Film time has a different focus — it can cut up 
and manipulate time. Dance is real time 
without the option of editing. The competing 
events are the main problem in a live dance- 
with-film performance. But lighting is, too. 
How can it be dark for the film if it must be lit 
to perform? I didn't solve that problem with 
Mr. "E," although I have some ideas about 
how to fix it next time. 

"I thought Mr. "E's" films would be 
perfect for solving the problem of competing 
images, because they are basically object 
studies. They were like inanimate animate ob- 
jects or still lifes or statues — things that nor- 
mally have a living presence behind what they 
had become. Mr. "E" shoots these inanimate 
objects like dancers: one shot, click, one shot, 
move, one shot, one shot, one shot, all the way 
around so the objects become a moving force 
field. We decided to use those things in the 
performance. We thought they would not pre- 
sent a conflict of visual imagery. The result 
was more like having dance partners than 
presenting dance in film. 

"In one section of Celluloid Sally there were 
two projectors, and footage of statues. I 
would move all over the space, and the statue 
footage from two different projectors would 
overlap. Then I would do a statue-like move- 
ment. Or I would drop out and look at, say, 
his footage of torsos in a museum. 

"In the 16mm part there's a botanical 
garden which took up lots of the backdrop. I 

MAY 1984 




Sally Silvers performs aboard the Intrepid in Henry Hills' Money. 



came out with a ladder and tried to be the same 
scale as the huge plants by becoming tall and try- 
ing to set myself at a great height. And then there 
was a four-projector section where Mr. "E" shot 
colors — producing shadows, like a straight 
movement -shadow bit with color." 

The interdisciplinary approach to the arts 
became an integral part of American culture 
in the 1960s and early 1970s. "In 1963 Beverly 
Schmidt camouflaged herself as she appeared 
in a red gown against a lush green image of red 
flowers," wrote Jill Johnston in the Village 
Voice in 1968. "This was the first film-stage 
piece by a choreographer that I can recall. 
Everyone was excited about it at the time." 



Many choreographers shared that excitement 
and continued exploring the media arts. 
However, during the latter part of the 1970s this 
multimedia approach was slighted in favor of 
more traditional, single discipline con- 
cepts — perhaps a signal of a new conservatism 
in audience and presenting organizations. The 
1980s have seen a revival of interdisciplinary 
interests, often to emphasize spectacle and 
scale. Let's hope that these three young 
choreographers whose work in film is as pro- 
vocative in a dance context as in a cinema one 
will have the opportunity to show their ideas 
to a broader audience in the future. ■ 

Daryl Chin is a playwright who often writes 
about the arts. 



Surviving in the 
Film Industry 



a symposium 



Four evenings of film screenings and lively 
conversation with industry guests 



host 

JONATHAN KAPLAN 

Director of Heart Like A Wheel 

Monday, June 4-Thursday, June 7 

6-10 p.m. 

For more information, call Cam Galano, 598-7910 



NevtoRK 




Tisch School of the Arts 



PRIVATl UNIVEAsm i*. rm PUBLK SERVICE 



New York University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution. 



19 



m= 


PROGRAMMING INDEPENDENTS 
AMERICAN STYLE 


"^ 





An American 
Way of Playing 

PBS dramatic series now offers unique pool of 

feature film production money, right of final cut and 

a chance to pursue a theatrical release before broadcast. 

ROB EDELMAN 



On American Playhouse, you will see no 
Flashdances, Halloween XVh or Conan the 
Barbarian?,. There are neither the feature- 
length music videos nor the teenager-in-lust 
comedies and special effects-laden epics that 
Hollywood feels are the best bets for cracking 
Variety's chart of 50 top-grossing films. 
American Playhouse is instead a source of 
funding for independent filmmakers who 
simply want to tell a story or massage their 
viewers' minds. Now in its third season on 
public television, it is unique in that it offers 
filmmakers a more-than-fair contract and the 
right of final cut. Scripts can be looser, and 
cover wider topics, than on most PBS series. 
American Playhouse is non-commercial, yet it 
has a national television audience. And there 
is even a potential for theatrical distribution. 

According to David M. Davis, executive 
director of the series, anyone can submit a 
script to American Playhouse. Everything 
gets read. There are, however, a few rules. The 
film has to be "American" in content, in that 
it must say something about life in these 
United States. It must not be a documentary 
or a one-person show, and it must fit into a 
one-hour, 90-minute or two-hour timeslot. 
Nudity and obscenity must be avoided: you 
can use "damn," but not "goddamn." "We 
are now doing 21 shows a year," Davis ex- 
plains, "and processing over 1,000 scripts. 
Eighty to 90% are eliminated on the first cut. 
The remaining ones go up the chain." 

An advisory committee meets four times a 
year to evaluate proposals. This group in- 
cludes Phyllis J. Geller of KCET, Los 
Angeles; Charles Morris of South Carolina's 
ETV; Fred Barzyck of WGBH, Boston; Jac 
Venza of WNET, New York; and various 
American Playhouse staffers. They offer 
feedback, but don't render verdicts. "I sup- 
pose I have the real final say in what's ac- 
cepted," admits Davis, a former producer and 
director for public television who has also 
been responsible for dispensing $150 million 
in grants for the Ford Foundation. "Lindsay 
Law [Playhouse's executive producer and 

20 



previous head of WNET's drama department] 
decides, with my concurrence. He and I rarely, 
if ever, disagree." 

"They are selective," explains Amram 
Nowak, director of The Cafeteria. "As with 
any organization of this type, it's tough to get 
on the inside. But they are fair in regards to 
their own accessibility. " Adds Thomas Fucci, 
producer of Nightsongs, "Their screening 
process is hard. They're not just handing out 
dollars. But this is because they're looking for 
good material." 

American Playhouse has yet to produce the 
work of a first -time filmmaker. "We would be 
open to this," says Davis. "It would depend 
on the director's background. Lynne Littman 
[director of Testament] had never made a 
drama, but she knew the filmmaking medium 
backwards and forwards from her documen- 
tary work. She was a risk, but her script was so 
compelling that even if she did a pedestrian 
job it would have been a good show." 

A TTEMPTS TO A TTRA CT OUTSIDE $$ 

A filmmaker whose script has been approved 
receives $400,000 from American Playhouse, 
which is itself "made possible" by the nation's 
public television stations, the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting, the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts and the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities. Additional funding 
for each project must be solicited from a varie- 
ty of sources: the NEH, public television sta- 
tions, foundations, state arts councils, private 
investors and foreign organizations like the 
BBC. The highest budget — $1.7 million — was 
for Pudd'nhead Wilson, for which director 
Alan Bridges received NEH money, foreign 
and foundation money. For El Norte, 
Gregory Nava received additional funds from 
Cinecom, a distribution company. 

Once that contract is signed, American 
Playhouse will in no way tamper with the 
creative process. "The agreement states that 
they will take our suggestions into considera- 
tion," explains Davis. "That's as far as we go. 
But we have approved the script before the 



contract is signed, and it may have gone 
through two or three rewrites." Explains 
Amram Nowak, "Once you are funded, they 
don't try to destroy the creativity of the film- 
maker. They trust their original judgments." 

But alteration requests do arise. David 
Fishelson and Zoe Zinman's City News, 
originally 64 minutes, had to be recut to 58 
minutes to fit into an hour timeslot. "They 
flew me up to WGBH [Boston] where it was 
done," reports Fishelson. "Everything I asked 
for, I got. And I kind of even like this cut bet- 
ter. It was too good to believe." 

Not all American Playhouse films originate 
in-house. City News and Mary Lampson's 
Until She Talks are acquisitions. Nightsongs 
and Gregory Nava's El Norte were originally 
projects of Utah's Sundance Institute, created 
to help support independent filmmakers. "We 
have jio formal relationship with them," says 
Davis. "We just have similar interests. With 
these films, Sundance wasn't in a position to 
implement anything. We were. 

"We like to initiate, but we are now acquir- 
ing four to five outside films a year. We pay 
$ 1 00,000 maximum, but sometimes much less . 
It was a terrific experience for Huck [Fairman, 
director of Refuge] . It was a great break for 
Jon [Hanson] and Rob [Nilsson, directors of 
Northern Lights]. They even got the Neil 
Simon award." This prize, worth $25,000, is 
given to the best script among all programs 
aired in a season. 

TELEPLA YS OR FEA TURE FILMS? 

The name American Playhouse stems from 
public television's wish to create original 
teleplays, similar to the Playhouse 90 of TV's 
"Golden Age." Lately, though, several of 
Playhouse's films — Testament, El Norte, 
Robert Young's The Ballad ofGregorio Cor- 
tez — have been released theatrically. The last 
even. opened after its television broadcast. 

"A lot of good people want to make 
movies, not TV shows," says Davis. "Our 
decision to go theatrical came about when 
people like Jan Egleson and Victor Nunez 
said, 'Can we do it this way?' and we said, 
'Why not?' Also, investors will put money in- 
to movies and not into TV shows. We're sup- 
posed to be creative with our financing — as 
Ronald Reagan keeps telling us. 

"Traditionally, movies that have played in 
cinema houses do better on TV because they 
have word-of-mouth. We get a lot of identi- 
fication with these films, as our name is on the 
screen, on the posters. We can compete, 
quality-wise, with anything from Hollywood. 
Look at Jane Alexander's Oscar nomination 
for Testament. 

"Louis Malle, Rainer Werner Fassbinder 
and Ingmar Berman have all been supported 
by TV. It's something public service broad- 
casters ought to do more of." But unlike 
Malle, Fassbinder and Bergman, American 
Playhouse filmmakers are neither superstars 

MAY 1984 



INDEPENDENTS 
AMERICAN STYLE 

in the commercial cinema establishment nor 
critics' darlings. 

Generally, these filmmakers rate the series' 
staff a solid four stars. "I really think they've 
achieved an extraordinary rapport with us," 
says Amram Nowak. "They've been wonder- 
ful," notes Victor Nunez, whose A Flash of 
Green, based on a John D. MacDonald mys- 
tery novel, is now in production. "Basically, 
they've said, 'Just go make the film.'" Jesus 
Trevino, director of Sequin, describes them as 
"supportive," while Thomas Fucci calls them 
"respectful." David Fishelson adds that they 
are "egoless, not seven-headed monsters. 
They are for the filmmaker." 

SOME MINORITY INPUT 

But not all filmmakers have kind words for 
American Playhouse. "At one point they put 
out a call for Asian-American authors to sub- 
mit work," explains writer Ernest Abuba. 
"They were all rejected." According to David 
Davis, "We now have three films in develop- 
ment by Asian- Americans." Yet Abuba ob- 
serves that "anything that has happened there 
is an aftereffect of the Nightsongs stink." 
(During the production of this American 
Playhouse drama set in New York's China- 
town, there was much friction between the 
non-Asian filmmakers and both the local 
community and Asian-Americans involved in 
the production. See the May, 1983 Indepen- 
dent.) 

"American Playhouse had hired someone 
with a supposedly Hispanic surname [Crispin 
Larangeiara] to read material," recalls film- 
maker Pablo Figueroa. "But this person was 
not Hispanic. I wrote a screenplay that was ac- 
cepted by Sundance, but I couldn't get it past 
him. I gave him a list of people to get in touch 
with, but nothing came of this." Abuba adds 
that "the power bloc there is not doing a 
thorough job in seeking out what's represen- 
tative of a mass society." 

"I don't understand any criticism," says 
Victor Nunez, "except to say that the despera- 
tion for all filmmakers is mounting. Com- 
pared to other public television situations, 
American Playhouse is positive and encourag- 
ing regarding Third World filmmakers. Just 
look at their record." 

Nunez, as well as Jesus Trevino, Gregory 
Nava, Ntozake Shange, Ossie Davis, Gordon 
Parks, James Baldwin, Lloyd Richards, Vic- 
tor Villasenor, Oz Scott and Michael Schultz 
have all been associated with the series. "Mar- 
va Nabili [director of Nightsongs] is an Ira- 
nian woman," points out Thomas Fucci. 
"How much more Third World can you get?" 

And their scenarios? Films with Third 
World characters and themes include For Col- 
ored Girls. . . (the lives of six black women); 
The Killing Floor (the rise of a black stockyard 
worker in an all-white union); Solomon Nor- 
thrup's Odyssey (the life of a freeborn black 
(Continued on page 2 7) 
MAY 1984 




Bill Duke's The Killing Floor tells the story of Chicago slaughterhouse workers struggling to unionize during World 
War I. In Michael Roemer's Haunted, two women become embroiled in a troubled mother-daughter relationship. 
Workers in a southern textile mill buck management in Barbara Kopple's Keeping On. City News, a film about a 
failing alternative newspaper by David Fishelson and Zoe Zinman. was acguired by Playhouse 

21 






PROGRAMMING INDEPENDENTS 
BRITISH STYLE 






A Talk with 

Alan Fountain 

of British Channel 4 

The commissioning editor for smaller independents 

explores producer relations, alternative programming, the 

British political context and pressure for balanced programs. 

KATHLEEN HULSER 



As the motley color bars which form Chan- 
nel Four's logo announce: "This is the un- 
uniform Channel, the one that's made up of 
this and that." Independents are hot on the 
trail of the pounds that go into making 
"that" — and US indies haven't been entirely 
excluded. But more important than the 
straight production cash is the set-up. The 
Channel has now been in operation for over 18 
months, long enough for some its predilections 
to come to the fore. 

Channel Four's commissioning editor for 
the grant-aided sector, Alan Fountain, at- 
tended the Havana Film Festival last De- 
cember, both to represent films from the 
Channel's Latin American series and to scout 
new talent. In this interview he explores some 
of the positive aspects — and some of the con- 
straints — of "alternative programming." 

One constraint, endemic to broadcasting, is 
scarce air time. Fountain says he is over- 
whelmed with material he would like to pro- 
gram, and wishes that the unusual fare was 
more widely dispersed among other programs 



on the Channel. Fountain's main slot is The 
Eleventh Hour, a variable-length program 
which runs at 1 1 pm on a weekday, an hour the 
editor considers too late for most early-to-bed 
Brits. But despite the late hour, the program 
claims a viewership of some 400,000. 

Although series formats have in some ways 
been the bane of US indies' PBS appear- 
ances — usually consisting of meaningless 
shoehorning of product into a mindlessly 
hosted horror — intelligent commissioning 
and selection of series can win viewers without 
compromising an independent's vision. When 
The Eleventh Hour does wrap-arounds Foun- 
tain prefers that they consist of material the 
filmmaker chooses. Consider the series assem- 
bled in the first year: Latin America from a na- 
tive Latino point of view; sexuality from a 
feminist standpoint (Fountain spent 210,000 
pounds for six 50-minute videotape documen- 
taries — surely the largest sum lavished on a 
made-by-feminists project in broadcasting 
history); films on Northern Ireland which 
consider such questions as the distinction be- 




So Thai You Can Live, an essay/documentary about dying Welsh mining town by Cinema Action, is an example 

of the unusual forms welcomed onto the air by British Ch. 4. 

22 



tween a "terrorist" and a "freedom fighter"; 
and Commodities, a series exploring the 
economic, geographic and political aspects of 
sugar, tea, coffee and gin. The Channel has 
been forking over 30,000 pounds a week to 
program The Eleventh Hour. For a relatively 
modest one-hour documentary made in the 
United Kingdom, Fountain estimates a budget 
of 40,000-45,000 pounds, whereas the most 
expensive fiction to date cost 220,000 pounds 
for an hour. The Channel also buys films from 
outside, although not as much as it did during 
the start-up year. Pre-sale/commission 
combinations might attract 10,000-20,000 
pounds. Meanwhile, the workshops (see side- 
bar) are receiving approximately 625,000 
pounds per year in subsidies. 

Commissioning editors at the Channel were 
recruited for their ability to assemble resourc- 
es from diverse sectors of society, and Chan- 
nel Four head Jeremy Isaacs has given them a 
lot of latitude. Alan Fountain is an indepen- 
dent documentarian who comes from a 
workshop background and participated in the 
Independent Filmmakers' Association during 
the planning period of the Channel. While 
many producers have commented favorably 
on the quality and breadth of their respective 
editors, there have been complaints about 
delays in response time, inconsistent decisions 
and clarity about what the editors are looking 
for. In an article in last February's AIP & Co. 
(the journal of the Association of Indepen- 
dent Producers, the largest producers' trade 
organization), Justin Dukes, managing direc- 
tor of Channel Four, admits that the propor- 
tion of new ideas to the "needed" category is 
still only about 20-30%, and that the commis- 
sioning editors are communicating their needs 
first to the companies they prefer, rather than 
relying on any sort of open solicitation. In- 
dependents are naturally concerned about 
how often they can expect to work with the 
Channel and how to obtain an insider's track 
on new "needed" projects. Only time will tell 
how these questions will be resolved — as well 
as the larger issue of where the British Film In- 
stitute production board will fit in. But the 
good news about production opportunities 
and creative freedom is heartening — especial- 
ly on this side of the Atlantic, where the very 
existence of public broadcasting is periodical- 
ly threatened. 

KATHLEEN HULSER: You are responsible 
for commissioning and acquiring independent 
film and video at Channel Four. Have your ac- 
tually acquired any video? 

ALAN FOUNTAIN: Very little. We've begun 
to commission some video in Britain. We've 
mainly talked about supporting some video 
workshops. 

KH: Could you give me an example of 
something that you've run that originated in 
V* " from a workshop? 

MAY 1984 



INDEPENDENTS 
BRITISH STYLE 




AF: One is a two-part program called The 
Irish in England. The first tape is about the ex- 
perience of Irish immigration into England in 
the postwar period and relies on oral history. 
The second program deals with Irish people 
living in England. These tapes were produced 
at one of the workshops that we finance. 

Another example is In a City Called Shef- 
field. It's about a city which has been very 
badly affected by the decline of the British 
steel industry. A six-part program called Mak- 
ing Cars was made in an unusual way by a 
group called the TV History Workshop. The 
group was established in Oxford, where one of 
the great British car plants, Leyland, is 
situated. The workshop made it known that it 
wanted to make a program with the workers 
about the history and current concerns within 
Leyland . Workers came into the workshop for 
interviews, and then came back to look at and 
modify them. It became a kind of collective 
process, and the resulting series looked at the 
history of the plant and of the car industry, 
current conditions, and relationships between 
union and management. A lot of video pro- 
jects have emphasized the idea of greater ac- 
cess to TV for working people. 

We do a lot of seasons. We've just finished 
a season of Latin American cinema: 
documentaries, features and shorts in Spanish 
with subtitles. Another season we did Women 
on Film, six weeks of films made mostly by 
feminists. We're planning a season of African 
cinema. We tend to alternate our seasons with 
two, three or four weeks of individual films 
(either commissioned or bought). In January 
[1984] we're going to run a six-week commis- 
sioned feminist series called Sexuality, a 
documentary series about sexuality and sexual 
representation. The problem is that I've 
basically got too much [material to fit into] 
The Eleventh Hour once a week, and occa- 
sional community slot programming. 

KH: How do you work with workshops? It's 
not entirely clear to me the difference between 
commissioning and acquiring, because you 
are contributing money to the workshops' 
general production funds. For example, do 
you hold pre-production meetings with 
workshops? Do you have project approval on 
things they will later be submitting to the 
Channel? 

AF: The whole development of the workshops 
[grew out of] an argument from independents 
that they need two things: one, full-time, full 
continuity employment, and two, an arm's- 
length relationship with the people putting up 
the money. So the difference is that with the 
workshops, we commit ourselves to one, two 
or three contracts. We're just about to start a 
whole new application procedure. 

It's a strange system which came out of a lot 
of meetings with the trades unions. The way it 
operates is that a workshop comes in with a 
program of work. Sometimes proposals will 
MAY 1984 



Although England has multiple public 
broadcasting channels, smaller inde- 
pendents haven't always had access to 
them. But by the late seventies, when plan- 
ning for Channel Four was well underway, 
it was clear that independent creative 
voices must be allowed onto the airwaves. 
What the British call the "grant -aided sec- 
tor" (i.e. smaller independents) negotiated 
a very unusual relationship to the new 
channel, providing for subsidies along with 
a maximum of creative freedom and an 
arms-length link with the Channel staff. 

In Great Britain many independents 
operate through regionally-based work- 
shops, which are roughly equivalent to our 
media centers (although documentary film 
and video production appears to pre- 
dominate over art/experimental work). To 
maintain a viable cultural existence, the 
overstrained workshop sector required 
several things from the new channel: 
equipment aid, regular income and a 
broader audience. But workshop members 
weren't willing to sacrifice creative auton- 
omy to achieve these goals. 

One primary stumbling block to 
reaching an agreement with Channel Four 
was ACTT (the Association of 
Cinematographic and Television Techni- 
cians), England's version of IATSE. How 
were independents to accommodate the 
onerous staffing and production provi- 
sions of ACTT, an organization which 
would certainly determine labor policies at 
the new channel? What happened is a model 
compromise worked out with a traditional 
union — much to the astonishment of 
pessimistic indies and the Independent 
Filmmakers Association (a trade group 
representing smaller producers). 

Murray Martin, an independent who 
works with the Amber Films workshop in 
Newcastle, took up the question of union 
concessions as his mission before the 
Channel had evolved into its present form. 
Martin and his allies approached the 
Labour Party which, after much discus- 
sion, agreed to lobby for five million 
pounds for the new channel. And as the 
Channel took shape, ACTT argued that 
Channel Four reserve time for grant-aided 
filmmaking. 

The "Workshop Declaration" of 1981 is 
the resulting agreement on terms, condi- 
tions and pay that ACTT negotiated with 
independents. In return for signing the 
concession, independents working 
through participating workshops and 
regional arts associations obtained three 
things: legitimate union status (which was 
important for the many independents who 
often dealt with problems of workers but 
were not themselves members of a trade 
union); a foot-in-the-door at Channel 
Four (ACTT and Labour Party backing 
were crucial in establishing a regular. 



substantial indie presence on the Channel); 
and union backing when bargaining with 
funding bodies, especially at the regional 
level. The Channel itself views the agree- 
ment as a "unique cultural partnership" 
which "makes a significant contribution 
towards strengthening regional film 
culture from which it can confidently an- 
ticipate the emergence of a wide range of 
imaginative and unusual work." 

Channel Four offers workshops a blend 
of commissioning and acquiring options. 
Workshops receive equipment and salary 
subsidies from the Channel to do "pro- 
grams of work." A program of work is a 
curious critter but well worth closer inspec- 
tion. It consists of several film or video 
pieces which can evolve slowly and eman- 
ate from the various members of a work- 
shop. (Alan Fountain refers mostly to 
documentaries.) The subsidies for over- 
head may run as high as 75,000 
pounds — before the work is sold to the 
Channel. 

When a project nears completion, it's 
submitted to the commissioning editor and 
a sale price is agreed upon. Now, pause to 
consider the differences between this situ- 
tion and a pure commission or acquisition 
and you will realize how beautifully 
tailored to the support of ongoing indepen- 
dent production this arrangement is. The 
workshop, or the filmmakers, retain 
foreign, home video, theatrical and other 
such rights, while commissioned film's cede 
major rights to the Channel. Workshop 
members don't have to aim for tight pro- 
ject delivery deadlines, thus allowing them 
to keep in touch with the real evolution of 
events in the communities in which they are 
based. And, unlike an acquisition, this 
relationship with public broadcasters of- 
fers independents a level of professional 
support which a mere sale or occasional 
commission could not — while also assur- 
ing the Channel a regular supply of quality 
fare. Even better, audiences which don't 
frequent small theaters or video shows can 
see work which relates to their lives on the 
telly. 

Programs from the workshops have in- 
cluded documentaries such as the in- 
novative So That You Can Live, an essay 
reflection on a dying mining town pro- 
duced by Cinema Action, and Bred and 
Born, an examination of mothers and 
daughters in East London by the Four Cor- 
ners group. Independents have also found 
a place in miniseries with such works as 
Cross and Passion (part of Ireland: The 
Silent Voices), and in Profiles, a trio of 
films on artist/filmmakers. — K. Hulser 

Information for this article was taken 
from an interview with Murray Martin. 
Channel Four catalogues, articles in A IP <& 
Co., and readings from the British and 
A merican trade press. ■ 






PROGRAMMING INDEPENDENTS 
BRITISH STYLE 






be quite detailed and name particular pro- 
jects, and other times the filmmakers will just 
say these are the sorts of things they want to 
develop. Let's say Channel Four puts 
X-thousand pounds into it. They then finish a 
couple of films. At that point, they offer them 
back to us, and we buy them. It 's an incredibly 
complicated artificial scale. So there are two 
areas of the funding which are combined into 
one figure: one is the wage levels, and the 
other is the production money. 

This is a new thing. I think the filmmakers, 
to begin with, were quite jealous about main- 
taining that separation. As things have devel- 
oped, there's a reasonable relationship and 
trust. 

KH: Who has final cut? 

AF: The filmmakers. They have full film 
rights and the final decision is theirs. I make 
suggestions and discuss it, but at the end of the 
day they can say: "We're going to do this." I 
think that's important, because it gives work- 
shop production that element of in- 
dependence. That often works with outside 
commissions as well. 

KH: What's the distinction between an ac- 
quisition and a workshop situation? 

AF: The difference between a workshop pro- 
duction and a commission is that a commision 
is always for a particular project rather than a 
program of work. But I make less of a distinc- 
tion than a lot of others do. I tend to work 
with most of my commissions by giving people 
a pretty high degree of freedom. I'll see the 
work a lot, but I don't like being on people's 
backs. 

And the crucial difference with the commis- 
sions is contractual: the legal contract is dif- 



ferent, the cash flow is different. The Channel 
financially monitors a commission very close- 
ly and could potentially take control of the 
film if it ran into trouble. Also, the Channel 
has most of the rights. 

KH: What proportion of your total [program- 
ming] is acquisitions, and is that changing as 
the Channel gets older and more established? 

AF: It's a changing proportion. In the first 
year it was quite high— probably 50%. Next 
year it could be much less because we've got 
more new material coming through. 

The other thing we've done a bit of is put- 
ting small amounts of co-production money 
into filmmakers abroad — Latin America, 
Africa, the States or Europe. We would put up 
perhaps 10,000-20,000 pounds which can 
make the crucial diference between something 
getting made or not. I hope that next year we 
might do six to 10 projects of that sort. 

KH: Are the selection criteria you use discuss- 
ed with other people in the Channel to balance 
out programming? Or are you the one identi- 
fying the social trend, saying, "Let's do a 
feminist series"? 

AF: I 've tended to have a rather high degree of 
freedom. There's never been a huge amount 
of discussion about selection. I've always 
thought there should be more. It tends to have 
been run very much as Jeremy Isaacs [head of 
Channel Four] wants. If I want to do a project 
I just talk to him. If he agrees, we go 
ahead — and he's agreed to most things. 
Sometimes we run into particular political 
problems; there are things I want to show that 
the Channel doesn't. 

KH: Like what? 





In the "Ireland: The Silent Voices" series, Ch. 4 listens sympathetically to Irish accounts of the "troubles" in 

Northern Ireland and explores the defects of mainstream media coverage of these issues. 

24 



Alan Fountain, commissioning editor for the grant- 
aided sector at Ch. 4. 

AF: They think I've done too much on 
Ireland. We ran a series on Ireland, a couple 
of documentaries, and they've made it very 
clear that they don't want to see a lot more of 
them in the near future. 

KH: Do you have trouble running gay 
material? 

AF: No, that's not really a problem. A 
videomaker, Stuart Marshall, is going to make 
a program looking at the way gayness has been 
represented and dealt with in Britain and to 
some extent in the States. A woman named 
Melanie Chapin made a very nice film called 
Veronika for Rose which dealt with teenage 
lesbians and their relationships with their 
parents. Framed Youth, by the Gay and Les- 
bian Youth Project, is an expression of joy 
about their sexuality. But the Channel is very 
wary about things like a Middle East film with 
an anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian scene. 

KH: Have you every done wrap-arounds, 
panels or intros as a result of touchiness about 
political matters? 

AF: No. But there's a program called Right 
of Reply where people who don't like a pro- 
gram-can come in and say why not. It's a 
separate program done about four times a 
year. 

When Channel Four started there were a lot 
of assumptions made that the Channel would 
not be subject to the same sort of rules as the 
other TV companies — that it wouldn't have to 
insert balance into the programs, etc. There's 
been quite a battle around that. Essentially, 
my view is that the Channel hasn't completely 
lost that argument, but it's come close to los- 
ing it. 

My own view (which is not one shared by 
most people within the Channel) is that we 
should have confronted the issue head-on to 
begin with, forced it and discussed it more, 
making it much more of a public issue. But 
that's not Channel Four style, the Channel 
never does that. 

What's happened as a result is that The 
Eleventh Hour is seen as this one slot where 
people can be controversial and one-sided. 
That's part of the slot's identity, and it means 
that people can speak more openly. The Mal- 

MAY1984 



INDEPENDENTS 
BRITISH STYLE 

vinas film [Malvinas: History of a Betrayal] 
would never have gotten shown on Channel 
Four anywhere but The Eleventh Hour. It 
would have been called totally unbalanced. 

KH: It's interesting that "unbalanced" films 
have been shunted off into one program 
rather than considered within the function of 
the Channel as a whole. 

AF: Well, the Channel still does battle— but if 
we had made the battle more upfront, we 
might have gotten further with it. Now they 
will say, "OK, you don't have to balance 
within one program, but you have to have 
afnother] balancing program." That's a slight 
step forward. For instance, Ken Loach made a 
piece which basically attacked right-wing 
trades unions. But it hasn't been allowed to 
show because the authorities say, "If you 
make a program which somehow puts forth 
the 'other view' (whatever that may be), then 
you can show them both . " This new argument 
means that you must make another program 
to show with your original one. Fortunately at 
the moment I have escaped that. But it's some- 
thing of a problem. 

The Channel is trying to deal with this prob- 
lem in current affairs by having a new slot with 
one evening presented by a left-wing jour- 
nalist, the next bv a right, and the next, a 
liberal. That's doing just what the [Indepen- 
dent Broadcasting] wants: "All views 
will balance out," they say. My view, which 
hasn't made any headway at the Channel, is 
that we ought to see ourselves as a more 
politically progressive channel. We should be 
fighting against that, rather than saying OK. 
It's become an issue at the Channel because 
various executives have publicly said, "We're 
looking for right-wing programs." That's 
crazy. Originally, I think, it was seen as a 
structural tactic, but of course it backfired 
because people then asked: "Where are all 
these programs? When are you going to make 
them?" This was completely within That- 
cherite Britain, although the government 
hasn't put direct pressure on the Channel. We 
have been cast in some of the press as the home 
of the left, the gays, the dissidents — seen as 
not very trustworthy politically. ■ 




American Robert Mugge has made two music films for 
Ch. 4: one on Al Green (above) and another on Gil 
Scott-Heron. 
MAY 1994 




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AMERICAN STYLE 







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Two films acquired by Playhouse: Beth Ferris & Richard Pearce's Heartland, about an unusual marital alliance on 
the frontier, and Mary Lampsons Until She Talks, an exploration of abuse of the grand jury process. 




tmmaam 



The director of a low-budget, originally 
not-for-profit feature may encounter 
problems with disgruntled unions, actors 
or community members if it ends up mak- 
ing money. Such is the case with Lynne Litt- 
man's Testament, first made for American 
Playhouse but eventually released theatrical- 

ly. 

Residents of Sierra Madre, the California 
community in which the film was shot, 
have claimed that they were persuaded to 
furnish props and free services and to work 
as gofers and extras. But when the decision 
was made to open the film theatrically — 
and thus attempt to turn it into a money- 
maker — they were not informed. 

Yet, according to Miranda Barry, direc- 
tor of program development for American 



Playhouse, no deception was involved. 
"The film was made to be shown on televi- 
sion," Barry explains. "The theatrical ex- 
hibition was in the hands of Entertainment 
Events, Ltd., private investors who came 
in and bailed the film out when it was hav- 
ing financial problems." Entertainment 
Events provided Littman with $278,000, 
about one-third of Testament's budget. 
Eventually, Entertainment Events chose to 
exercise its theatrical release option; it is 
now allegedly negotiating with the in- 
volved parties regarding appropriate com- 
pensation. 

A -filmmaker's best recourse in such a 
situation? Honesty. Offer retroactive 
compensation in the event of any profits as 
part of any financial deal. — Rob Edelman 




26 



Low-paid and volunteer contributors to Testament demanded compensation when the low-budget feature 
turned out be a money-maker, distributed theatrically by Paramount Pictures. 

MAY 1964 




f-syp^dit 



(American Playhouse, continued from page 21) 

man kidnapped into slavery); Medal of Honor 
Rag (the plight of a black Vietnam veteran); 
Keeping On (the experiences of a black mill 
worker who joins a union, then loses his job); 
For Us, The Living (the life of Medgar Evers); 
Seguin (the story of 19th-century Mexican- 
American hero Juan Neopmuceno Seguin); El 
Norte (the experiences of two Guatemalan 
teenagers who trek to Los Angeles); and The 
Ballad ofGregorio Cortez (a folktale about a 
legendary gunfight between a Texas sheriff 
and a Mexican -American). Some, like Bar- 
bara Kopple and Horton Foote's Keeping On, 
are by First World filmmakers. Others, like 
Gregorio Cortez — directed by Young, 
scripted by Villasenor — are collaborations be- 
tween First and Third World talents. 

And what of American Playhouse's future? 
"I'd like to see this movie option expanded," 
Davis says. "I'd like to do more than 21 shows 
a year." The higher the profile American 
Playhouse attains via the movie option — with 
its resulting New York Times ads and potential 
for Academy Award nominations — the better 
position it will be in for soliciting more funds 
and putting more filmmakers to work . ■ 

Rob Edelman is an associate editor of 
Leonard Maltin 's TV Movies and frequently 
writes about film. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



FESTIVALS 



The Arts Are the 
Thing at Edinburgh 



HEIDI J. LARSON 

Over 150 short, documentary and feature 
films were screened at the 1983 Edinburgh 
Film Festival last summer, which opened with 
the British premiere of Nagisa Oshima's Mer- 
ry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and included a 
22-film Oshima retrospective. The rest of the 
crowded festival schedule was quite diverse. 
Over one-third of the films were American, 
with major representation from thoughout 
Europe and a sprinkling of films from 
Australia, Ecuador, South Africa and Hong 
Kong. 

Edinburgh's Film Festival is part of what is 
often called the largest international arts 
festival in the world — the three-week Edin- 
burgh Arts Festival — which fills the city's 
theaters, church halls, and streets with drama 
and musical performances, arts exhibitions, 
and festivals of books, television programs 
and films. All this brings quite an interna- 
tional crowd to Edinburgh, anxious to see as 
many shows, films and exhibitions as they can 
fit into their visit. But while the film festival 
box office benefits from the large crowds, the 
festival as an event in itself is somewhat over- 
shadowed by the larger arts celebration. 

Besides the special events, the selection of 
films for the general schedule showed a broad 
range of quality and theme, but the large 
number of films often meant that two or three 
quite unrelated films were screened at one 
showing. Tight and overlapping screening 
times were the price paid for the large selec- 
tion. Public screenings ran from 2 pm to 1 1 :30 
pm in two adjacent cinema halls, and 
though you had to choose between simul- 
taneous shows, the closeness of the halls made 
it quite manageable. Morning press screenings 
alleviated the tight schedule for press viewers 
by providing a second chance to see some of 
the films. 

The centralized location for the film festival 
was a great advantage for meeting other film- 




SL-1, shown at Edinburgh, recreates a true nuclear 
accident— caused, perhaps, by a suicidal technician. 

28 



makers and press people. For the second year, 
the film festival was headquartered in Edin- 
burgh's local repertory theater, the Film- 
house, which has a cafe as well as two screen- 
ing rooms. The festival information desk, 
press and guest mailboxes, festival personnel 
and a message board were all based in the 
Filmhouse cafe and facilitated coordination 
among festival participants. A guest book for 
the press, filmmakers, distributors and other 
guests was also helpful in providing a record 
of who had arrived and where they were from. 

Management and press officers were help- 
ful in arranging press coverage for most visiting 
filmmakers. Although there was scant 
coverage by the American press, American 
films were well-covered by the British. The 
Edinburgh Festival Times gave headline 
coverage to American films in each of the 
weekly magazines published during the 
festival and BBC radio interviewed most 
American filmmakers who made it to the 
festival with their films. 

As for contacts, one American filmmaker 
said, "I've been able to meet all the people I 
would have otherwise gone to London to 
see." But others were less pleased. "I would 
say that I am satisfied by the press coverage 
here, but dissatisfied with the festival as a 
meeting place," an American filmmaker said. 
"I wouldn't come back. I recommend that 
filmmakers enter their films, but don't come 
themselves. It's too expensive." (Edinburgh, 
with a very limited budget, can only pay a 
small part of its participants' airfares and a 
few days stipend for room and board.) 

"Edinburgh is a festival for film buffs, not 
buyers," one American distributor comment- 
ed. "It has never been a market festival and 
has never pretended to be, "another added. 
"You might hook up with an independent UK 
distributor or be seen by an interested person 
from another festival, but that's it. It's not 
Berlin." 

And, according to some disappointed film- 
makers, the exciting exchange among film- 
makers for which Edinburgh was known was 
missing last year. They said they missed the 
seminars and forums which, until a few years 
ago, made Edinburgh special. "There's not 
enough interest in filmmakers here," a British 
filmmaker said curtly. "Too many producers 
around." 

To some extent, Edinburgh is what you 
make it. If you can afford to go, it's a fun 
festival to attend . If you hustle to track people 
down, you can make some contacts. The Film- 
house base helps give the film festival an iden- 



tity of its own within the "Festival City" and 
helps you locate people. One filmmaker com- 
mented, "What I like about Edinburgh is that 
it's low-key. You don't get lost in the shuffle 
like you do at Cannes." 

At the time of this writing, it had not been 
decided whether festival director Jim Hickey 
would visit New York for selections, or have a 
group shipment sent via FIVF. Please call or 
write the FIVF office for updated details. The 
official Edinburgh deadline is June 1; this 
year's festival will take place Aug. 19-Sept. 8. 
Contact: Jim Hickey or Ken Ingles, Film- 
house, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 
9BZ, Scotland, UK: tel: 031-228-6382; telex: 
72165. 

Heidi J. Larson is a freelance writer and 
photographer living in Connecticut. 



San Sebastian Still Reigns 
Despite Basque Upheavals 

Once considered a world-class festival, the 
San Sebastian Informational Film Festival is 
now trying to regain its status, which was marred 
in recent years by political strife in Spain, 
decreased budgets and loss of its market. One 
new potential strong point is the institution of 
the San Sebastian Video Festival, which made 
its bow in 1982 as a sidebar to the main film 
event. 

San Sebastian at 32 is somewhat of an aging 
movie star, its glamour and power of earlier 
years faded. Because of poor timing (slotted 
after such major fests as Venice and Deauville) 
and lack of a market, San Sebastian does not 
now attract the glitzy buying/selling activities 
or major film premieres it did in the past. Ten- 
sions with Basque separatists have been a 
gnawing public relations plague, particularly 
in 1982 when there were threats and demon- 
strations against the festival. Last year the 
demonstrations were more subdued, but a ma- 
jor flood in the Basque region just two weeks 
prior to the festival forced organizers to limit 
spending and social events. 

San Sebastian's emphasis has always been 
on Hollywood fare, and remains so today. In 
1983, American indie filmmakers were not a 
major presence. The 19 films in the official 
selection included Woody Allen's Zelig, 
Robert Jiras' I Am the Cheese and John G. 
Thomas' Tin Man. Godfrey Reggio's 
Koyaanisquatsi was the only American indie 
up for the $7,000 cash prize in the New Direc- 
tor's section — a prize never awarded because 
of jury dissatisfaction with the general quality 
of the submissions. In addition to Reggio's 
film, Affinity Enterprises (a US indie dis- 
tributor) brought John Sayle's Lianna and 
Susan Seidelman's Smithereens, which ap- 
peared in a special program called "The Other 
Way." Also presented in that section was 
Slava Tsukerman's Liquid Sky, represented 
by its Spanish distributor. Jonathan Olsberg, 
Affinity's executive director, had no raves for 
the film program, although he reported that 
San Sebastian is "a lovely town." 

Videomakers who were present for the 

MAY 1984 



video festival and workshops expressed the 
same sentiments toward the city's beauty, but 
had mixed reactions toward the festival opera- 
tions. The video screenings, which are kept 
quite separate from the film events, are held in 
the underground floor of an old but conven- 
iently-located casino. The long cavernous 
space is divided into two rooms, housing 
about eight monitors for screenings and addi- 
tional hardware for installation pieces. 

A number of American videomakers were 
included in the International Video Contest, 
upon the invitation of programmer and 
organizer Guadalupe Echevarria who had 
travelled to the United States in search of 
tapes. Invitations to submit tapes to the com- 
petition did not include personal appearances. 
According to Dara Birnbaum, Echevarria ap- 
proached a number of public agencies to get 
the government to cover travel expenses — as 
do most other countries — but to no avail. [The 
US is one of the only countries in the world 
which does not subsidize the participation of 
film and video artists in foreign festivals. 
While FIVF's Festival Bureau does receive 
money from theNEA andNYSCA, the amount 
is not nearly enough to subsidize international 
shipping, travel or publicity — common items 
in our foreign counterparts' budgets. Of 
course these various nationalist efforts are 
largely a response to the cultural imperialism 
waged by the commercial movie and television 
industry in this country, and it's difficult to 
convince anyone here of the need to under- 
write film and video export. — WL\ Spanish- 
speaking videomakers Juan Downey and Edin 
Velez were able to cover their expenses by 
teaching workshops at the festival. 

A prize of 300,000 pesetas was offered for 
the best videotape, but, according to Birn- 
baum (whose tape Damnation of Faust: In- 
vocation was an award winner), the jury de- 
cided to split the prize among a number of 
tapes in different styles. Accordingly the 
honors — and ostensibly the prize money — 
were split among four American and four 
European artists. But winning the prize did 
not necessarily mean money in the bank. Birn- 
baum was notified of her success in competi- 
tion a month after the festival, but with no 
mention of the cash prize. Later she received a 
letter from the festival offering to purchase 
her tape for approximately $250-300. The let- 
ter stated the oft-heard plea that her tape 
would contribute to fostering awareness of 
and appreciation for video throughout Spain; 
to Birnbaum, it sounded like her tape would 
end up in a low-paid package distribution 
deal. Furthermore, the letter did not clarify 
whether or not she sacrificed her prize money 
if she refused the purchase agreement. 

Juan Downey had a similarly frustrating ex- 
perience. Although promised travel expenses 
for his participation in a workshop, he re- 
ceived a ticket only to Madrid and had to 
cover the remaining leg to San Sebastian out- 
of-pocket. At the end of the festival he was 
given a check for his participation and told to 
cash it at the Spanish bank in New York City. 
When he attempted to do so, his check was 
MAY 1984 




Damnation of Faust: Invocation was screened at San 
Sebastian. Will its new video sidebar resurrect the test? 

confiscated and he was accused by bank per- 
sonnel of being a thief "trying to take pesetas 
out of poor Spain." 

For Steina and Woody Vasulka, and Bill 
Viola — whose works were presented in special 
retrospective programs — the festival was 
more enjoyable. The public response was en- 
thusiastic, particularly from Spanish young 
people. While San Sebastian's video and film 
events did not attract many buyers, the press 
coverage was very good. Viola got a television 
spot and coverage in several publications. 
Like Downey and Edin Velez, the Vasulkas 
conducted video workshops organized by the 
Basque government. 

Even though San Sebastian got mixed re- 
views in logistics and organization, it was well- 
appreciated for ambience and intellectual in- 
terchange. "As always, more got done in cafes 
and restaurants than in the official pro- 
ceedings," said Viola. Downey reported that 
he was able to make valuable contacts with 
European curators, and found the intellectual 
level of one-on-one meeting very inspiring. 
Woody Vasulka's only complaint was the 
"false and hypocritical Puritanism of the 
high-class hotel" where he was put up; in this 
very Catholic environment "an American 
would invite a woman up to his room to talk 
business and in 20 minutes the hotel 'sex 
squad' would be there." 

San Sebastian's future status remains in 
question. There is a new director, the ap- 
parently very able Carlos Gortari. The Inter- 
national Federation of Film Producers' Asso- 
ciations (IFFPA) will not give Sebastian its 
"A" rating again, at least for now, and only 
time will tell whether or not the "queen of 
Spanish festivals" will regain its prestige and 
market. — ReneeTajima 

Applications for the film festival should be 
submitted in June. Contact: Carlos Gortari, 
Festival de Cine de San Sebastian, Apartado 
de Correos 397, San Sebastian, Spain; tel: 
42.96.25; telex: 36228 CAM IN /E c/o FES- 
TINCI. 

Applications for the video festival are due 
by July I, and application forms are available 
in the AIVF office. Contact: Guadalupe 
Echevarria, Festival de Vido San Sebastian, 
P.O. Box 1023, San Sebastian, Spain; tel: 
42.96.25; telex: 36228 CAMIN/E c/o 
FESTINCI. Echevarria visited the US last 
year to select tapes, but we don 'tyet know if or 
when she will be back this year. Please contact 



AIVF or San Sebastian, or watch the June issue 
of The Independent for more information. 

Gloss and Class at 
The Venice Biennale 

"And when one says that the cinema 's voca- 
tion is international, one means that its works 
must bring to all countries the image of na- 
tional genius which inspired them. " 

— Rene Clair 

The words of the renowned French film 
director and critic, which appeared in the 
preface to the Venice Biennale 's 1960 pro- 
gram, best describe the philosophy that has 
made the Venice Biennale Film Festival a land- 
mark in cinema history. Formally known as 
La mostra internazionale d'arte cinema- 
tografica di Venezia (The International Film 
Art Exhibit of Venice), the festival originated 
in the 1930s as an appendix to the Biennale 
d'arte, which was itself conceived at the end of 
the 19th century with the sole purpose of 
gathering and exposing the finest, most 
representative collection of contemporary art 
in the world. The Venice Biennale was the first 
and is the oldest film exhibition of its kind, a 
thriving ancestor of the modish Cannes and 
Berlin festivals. Venice is less commercial and 
competitive than the former, but less open to 
independent work than the latter. 

The Biennale admits about 100 films from 
all over the world which are exhibited daily 
throughout the 10-day festival. Although each 
year the format and programming of the festi- 
val shifts in accordance with the expectations 
of each new director, selected films fall 
primarily into competitive and non- 
competitive categories. The official awards in- 
clude the Golden Lion (Grand Prix); the Silver 
Lion given to the first or second work by a 
filmmaker to encourage new talent 
(unanimously awarded in 1983 to Martinique's 
Euzhan Palcy for Sugar Cane Alley); and best 
technical contribution. 

The majority of the selected films are screened 
in the non-competitive section. (In fact, the 
Biennale began simply as an exhibit of films 
without competitions or prizes.) The non- 
competitive category should not be under- 
estimated by new filmmakers, for it functions 
as a showcase providing public and press ex- 
posure. The screenings are attended by 
thousands of visitors who flock to Venice each 
year for this event, and a filmmaker attending 
the festival can expect maximum press 
coverage through the daily press conferences. 

Non-competitive categories include docu- 
mentary, Third World, and youth-oriented 
films, while the Information Section exhibits a 
varied program ranging from masterpieces to 
avant-garde experimental films, interesting 
commerical productions, and the first films of 
new directors and actors. In 1982 and 1983, 
this section included such American indepen- 
dent and Hollywood productions as The 
Atomic Cafe (Pierce and Kevin Rafferty and 
Jayne Loader), Louis Malle's My Dinner with 
Andre, Mura Dehn's The Spirit Moves and 
Robert Altman's Health. 

29 




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The Biennale's atmosphere can best be 
described as "professional." Director Gian 
Luigi Rondi has chosen an international selec- 
tion jury composed of such filmmaking giants 
as Bernardo Bertolucci, Nagisa Oshima, 
Ousmane Sembene, Mrinal Sen and Alain 
Tanner. Rondi also hopes to solicit the par- 
ticipation of American directors such as 
Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola, and 
hopes to encourage the attendance of Ameri- 
can producers, who in the past have often 
been unwilling to appear at this predominant- 
ly non-competitive, non-market-oriented 
festival. — Giovanna Jones-Glasser ■ 

Last year, Venice representative Mario 
Longardi visited the US in early June. At the 
time of this writing, however, his 1984 
itinerary had not been set. Contact the FIVF 
off ice or Gian Luigi Rondi, Director, or Wan- 
da Zanirato, Settore Cinema-Spettacolo-TV, 
San Marco, Ca' Giustinian, 30100 Venezia, 
Italy, tel: 41-70.03.11; telex: 410685 BLE VE 
I. A sidebar program of more alternative or 
avant-garde feature films is selected by Enzo 
Ungari, Via Giovanni Miani, 40, Roma, Italy; 
tel: 5781930. The 1984 Festival will take place 
August 27-September 7. 

Giovanna Jones-Glasser is the West Coast 
representative for Cordell Haller, a public 
relations company serving independent film- 
makers. She is particularly interested in forg- 
ing cultural connections between Italy and the 
US and is about to publish her second novel. 

IN BRIEF 

This month 's notices ha ve been compiled by 
Deborah Ehckson and Wendy Udell with the 
help of the FIVF files. Listings do not con- 
stitute an endorsement, and since some 
details change faster than we do, we recom- 
mend that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve our 
reliability. 

Domestic 

• CELEBRA TION FILM FESTIVAL, July, part 
of the Allentown Festival of the Arts is sponsored in 
part by grant from the PA Council of the Arts. 
Animated, documentary & theatrical films in 8 & 
16mm vie for over $1200 in prizes. Deadline: June 
15. Contact: Celebration Film Festival, 309 S. 17th 
St., Allentown PA 18104. 

• CHICAGOLAND EDUCATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, October, encourages teachers to use 
educational films presented in numerous categories 
for various grade levels. Send work in 16mm under 
45 min. This festival is likely to grow in importance 
after the demise of the now-defunct Filmfest 
Midwest, once also in Chicago. Entry fee: $20. 
Deadline: May 30 (early June OK). Contact: Fred 
Rosengarden or Tommie Ward, 1819 W.Pershing 
Rd., 3rd fl., West Bldg., Chicago, IL 60609; (312) 
890-8420. 

• CINDY COMPETITION, November 17, spon- 
sored by Information Film Producers of America 
(IFPA), shows films & tapes for presentation of 
information rather than entertainment. Documen- 



30 



tary, education, industrial & business films in over 
30 categories awarded gold, silver & bronze Cindy 
plaques. 16mm films, V* " videotapes, 35mm 
filmstrips or slide-films, audio productions & 
multi-image shows accepted. Entry fees: $70/IFPA 
members, $90/non-members, student rate TBA. 
Deadline: June 15. Contact: Michael Nilan, 900 
Palm Ave., Suite B, So. Pasedena CA 91030; (213) 
441-2274. 

• HAWAII INT'L FESTIVAL, November, is a 
non-competitive event emphasizing films about 
human interaction in cross-cultural conflicts "when 
strangers meet." Festival mixes entertainment & 
education, combining industry workshops & social 
criticism, providing both parties reeking of cham- 
pagne & sober seminars, lectures & group discus- 
sions. Fest receives int'l press coverage, with an 
estimated audience of 20,000. Awards of recogni- 
tion presented. Features, documentaries & shorts 
from the US, Asia & the Pacific that attempt to pro- 
mote understanding between countries & the 
"strangers meeting" theme are invited & may be 
submitted in V* " video for preview. Festival pays 
for transport of accepted films. No entry fee. Con- 
tact: Tom Jackson, Film Selection Chair, Hawaii 
Int'l Film Festival, East-West Center, 1777 East- 
West Rd., Honolulu HI 96848; (808) 944-7608. 

• INTERCOM, September 11, 12, 14, once part of 
Chicago Film Festival, gives industrial & informa- 
tion producers & companies a chance for recogni- 
tion for expertise in in-house projects. Send 16 or 
35mm film, 35mm filmstrip or slide presentations, 
V* " & VHS cassette, NTSC, PAL & SECAM. Fees 
range from $60-$90. Awards: gold, silver, bronze 
Hugos; gold & silver plaques. Deadline: June 4. 
Contact: Reed Larson, 415 N. Dearborn St., 
Chicago IL 60610; (312) 644-3400. 

• MARIN COUNTY NATIONAL FILM COM- 
PETITION, June 30-July 4, gives independent 
filmmakers an opportunity to show films publicly 
while providing diverse entertainment for fair- 
goers. Awards: student films: max. $800; 
animated: max. $900; indies: max. $1000. 
16mm/max. 30 min. Entry fee: $10 per film. 
Deadline: June 1. Contact: Yolanda F. Sullivan, 
Marin County Fair & Exposition, Fairgrounds, San 
Rafael CA 94903; (415) 499-6400. 

• NEW JERSEY VIDEO & VIDEO FESTIVAL & 
CONFERENCE, June 15, held for the first time 
this year, is an effort to bring local producers 
together to show their works & discuss range of 
issues including production funding, distribution, 
broadcast & cable outlets & access to equipment. 
Jury will award prizes in variety of categories. Enter 
in early May. For more information contact: Tami 
Gold-Ahern, Newark Mediaworks, P.O., Box 
1019, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 690-5474. 

• NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL September 
28-October 14, 22nd edition of this premiere 
American festival. Deadlines: short films: July 1; 
features: July 15. See the June Independent for 
more information & contact: Joanne Koch, Wendy 
Keys or Marcy Blum at the Film Society of Lincoln 
Center, 140 West 65th St., NY NY 10023; tel: (212) 
877-1800, ext. 489. The fest's new advisor for in- 
dependent film is Lawrence Sapadin, executive di- 
rector, FIVF. 

• PHILAFILM, July, will be featuring films from 
the Brazilian state of Bahia this year. Founded in 
1975 as a forum for the exhibition & promotion of 
Third World cinema, Philafilm presents indepen- 

MAY1984 




THE INDEPENDENT 



Bette Gordon's Variety, shown at Toronto, charts one 
woman's obsession with pornography. 

dent films & tapes to the Philadelphia community & 
awards prizes to works in variety of categories. 
Work may be submitted in S-8, 16 or 35mm, & Va " 
videotape; fees range from $20-100. Deadline: May 
15. Contact: Brenda Collins, Int'l Association of 
Motion Picture and Television Producers, 1315 
Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 
893-5500/5537. 

• PUBLIC RELATIONS FILM/VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL, October, sponsored by Public Relations 
Society of America, honors best films & videotapes 
produced for public relations purposes by com- 
panies & organizations. Enter only sponsored 
16mm films or Va " videocassettes in one of 8 
categories. Fees: PRSA MEMBERS/S125, non- 
members/$150. Deadline: June 15. Contact: 
Marilynne Gamblin, PRSA, 845 Third Ave., NY, 
NY 10022; (212) 826-1750. ■ 



Foreign 

• BESANCON INT'L MUSICAL & CHOR- 
EOGRAPHIC FILM FESTIVAL, September, 
seeks documentaries or features relating to music & 
choreography. Max 3 entries per country in 16 or 
35mm or videocassette. Prizes awarded by int'l 
jury; 1 by public vote. No entry fee. Deadline: June 
15. Contact: Pierre LaGrange, 2d rue Isenbart, 
2500 Besancon, France; tel: (81)80.73.26. 

• BRAZIL SUPERS FILM FESTIVAL, August, 
now in its 11th year, will be accepting int'l entries 
for the 3rd time. Toni Treadway, The 
Independent's S-8 columnist, said event is well- 
organized & that "the Brazilians are producing 
some beautiful & complex narrative S-8 films." 
Winning films in 10 categories tour Brazil for 6 
months after festival. Enter films under 20 min. by 
June. Contact: Abrao Berman, Grife-Acao S-8 
Center of Cinema Studies, Rua Estados Unidos 
2240, 01427 Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil; tel: 852-1704. 

• CANADIAN INT'L ANIMATION FILM 
FESTIVAL-TORONTO 84, August 13-18. This is 
the reincarnation of the Ottawa Int'l Animation 

MAY 1984 



Festival which disappeared in a cloud of debt after 
the 1982 edition. Event has reputation for friendli- 
ness & aims to educate the public on theme, 
"Animation is not only for Saturday morning." 
Festival is located in heart of Toronto. Prizes will be 
awarded to 2 best films in each category, in addi 
tion to Public Award, Grand Prix & Best Video. 
Jury often gives special awards. 1 982 Ottawa Grand 
Prix went to Frederich Basch's Crac, Public Award 
went to Zbigniew Rybcynski's Tango, which also 
won an Academy Award. Films under 5 min., films 
over 5 min., films for children & commercials under 
5 min, accepted in 16 or 35mm & Va " video. Fest 
also seeks first films in 16 or 35mm only, & requests 
"no pencil tests." No fee. Deadline: June 15. Con- 
tact: Kelly O'Brien or Frederik Manter, 1 10 Willow 
Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E 3K3, Canada; (514) 
364-5924. 

• CORK INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, October, pre- 
sents new trends in short & documentary filmmak- 
ing & promotes interest in cultural, artistic, infor- 
mative & sports subjects. Deadline: early June, so 
it's advisable to contact fest ASAP. Contact: Cork 
Film Festival, Festival House, 38 MacCurtain St., 
Cork, Ireland; tel: (0002) 502221. 

• FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL D' AVANT- 
GARDE (FIAG), October 10-20, presents ex- 
perimental work in film, video, photography & 
multi-media at the Salon Art, Video et Cinema 
(SAVEC), located in a Paris suburb. Presentations 
are aimed at both the public & other artists, & great 
interest is expressed in multi-disciplinary work. 
Photos, film in 16mm & S-8, & video in Va ", PAL, 
SEC AM or NTSC should be submitted by June 15. 
Work also solicited for regular screenings at the 
Salon, & may be submitted until September. Con- 
tact: Michel Amarger or Frederic Devaux, FIAG, 
Salon Art Video et Cinema, B. P. 41 , 921 14 Clichy 
Cedex, France, tel: 731.29.76. 

• SALERNO INT'L FILM FESTIVAL FOR 
CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE, July-August. 
Established 13 years ago, sponsored by the Ministry 
of Tourism & recognized by UNICEF & UNESCO, 
fest's aim is to deal w/youth & childhood-oriented 
themes & to give people a chance to show work they 
have produced themselves. Categories: story, 
animation, teaching-information, documentary & 
childhood problems. Medals, certificates, & spon- 
sored prizes awarded to film selected by juries of 
children & youth. No fee; entrant pays all postage. 
Deadline: June. Contact: Claudio Gubitosi, Art- 
istic Director, 84095 Giffone Valle Piana, Salerno, 
Italy; tel: (089)224322. 

• TORONTO FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS, 
September 6-15 is one of the largest festivals in the 
world, boasting app. 165,000 attendants in 1983. 
Toronto is a film buff city, w/sidebars, film galas, 
series & retrospectives complementing the main 
event. 2 sections of interest to independents: "Con- 
temporary World Cinema" presents new interna- 
tional films; of 45 titles in last year's CWC pro- 
gram, 9 were American, all by independents. They 
included My Brother's Wedding (Charles Burnett), 
Variety (Bette Gordon), The Sky on Location 
(Babette Mangolte), Born in Flames (Lizzie 
Borden) & Wild Style (Charlie Ahearn). Short films 
programmed with many features. Documentaries 
shown in a somewhat less extensive section, 
"Stranger Than Fiction: A Documentary View"; 
American independents well-represented in this sec- 
tion too, with such titles as Rockaby (D.A. Pen- 
nebaker & Chris Hewgedus), Seventeen (Joel 
DeMott & Jeff Kreines) & N!ai: The Story of a 



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!Kung Woman (John Marshall & Adrienne 
Miesmer). Toronto plans to discontinue its video 
section this year since need for video programming 
is now being filled by newly-formed Video Culture 
Canada (see The Independent, Jan. -Feb. '84). 

Distributors figure prominently at the fest, & 
good press coverage also helps make it worth buck- 
ing Canadian customs, one of the great gatekeepers 
of the world. No official competition, but there are 
a number of prizes, such as the International Film 
Critics Award & Labatt's Most Popular Film 
Award, which helped launch Ira Wohl's Best Boy in 
1981. Programmers Kay Armatage & Jim Monro 
will be at the offices of the National Film Board of 
Canada in NY to view films during the last week in 
June. They prefer to be contacted through the 
festival office in Toronto first with a letter and 
publicity materials; they will then contact you & let 
you know where & when they want to see your film. 
The official entry deadline extends through Aug. 1 . 
Contact: Festival of Festivals, 69 Yorkville Ave., 
Ste. 206, Toronto, Canada M5R 1B7; (416) 
967-7371; telex: 06-219724. 

• TOURFILM INT'L FESTIVAL OF TOURIST 
FILMS, October, promotes tourism & is recognized 
by all Gov't Committees for Tourism in socialist 
states. Expected audience: 10,000. Send work'in 16 
& 35mm, max. 25 min. in categories of documen- 
tary, reportage, animated & acted. Entry fee: $50; 
fest pays return postage. Deadline: June. Contact: 
Ing. Lidmila Vaiglove, Gov't Committee for 
Tourism, Staromestske Namesti 6, 1 1001 Prague 1 , 
Czechoslovakia. 

• TRIESTE INT'L SCIENCE FICTION FILM 
FESTIVAL, July, did not take place in 1983 due to 
lack of funding, but Variety reported that 1984 edi- 



tion is likely. Festival explores how reported margin 
between fantasy & reality becomes smaller due to 
rush of technological progress. Entries in 16, 35 & 
70mm accepted in both short & feature lengths. 
Scientific & documentary films sought as well as 
science fiction. Awards given. No entry fee.. 
Deadline, June. Contact: Flavia Paulon, Calle 
Avogaria 1633, 30123 Venice, Italy; tel: 
(040)750.002, 795.863. 

• TYNESIDE FILM FESTIVAL, October, is 
dedicated to showcasing independent film & video, 
& awards large cash prizes. The Tyne Award, worth 
5000 pounds (about $7500), was awarded in 1983 to 
Chris Reeves for The Cause of Ireland. Jackie 
McKimmie's Station won the 100-pound (about 
$1500) inaugural Tyne Short Film Award. 
America's Skip Sweeney won the 1 50-pound (about 
$225) Tyne Video Award for My Father Sold 
Studebakers. Tyneside's director, Sheila Whitaker, 
who will soon be assuming command of the Lon- 
don Film Festival, always seems interested in great 
diversity; this year she especially seeks works by 
women. Tyneside receives good press & winning en- 
tries are usually shown on England's Channel 4. 
Tyneside conducts a selection process for film ex- 
hibition by a panel of judges who view features & 
shorts in 8, 16 & 35mm & U-matic & VHS tapes. No 
entry fee; fest pays return postage only if film is 
selected. Tyneside's publicist has asked that the 
following shipping instructions be marked clearly 
on all films: "For Exhibition; Visual & Auditory 
Materials; Relief From Duty Has Been Applied 
For; Destination: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne"; & the 
address: Tyneside Film Festival, Tyneside Cinema, 
10/12 Pilgrim St., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE1 
6QG, England; tel: (0632)321507. Also include the 
VAT (value added tax) number: 1781689. ■ 



NOTICES 



NOTICES are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others included as space permits. Send 
notices to THE INDEPENDENT, c/o 

FJVF, 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New 



York NY 10012. For further info, call 
(212)473-3400. Deadline: 8th of second 
preceding month (e.g. May 9 for July/ 
August). Edited by Mary Guzzy. 



Buy • Ren f Sell 



• FOR SALE: Stellavox SP-7 recorder w/modular 
pilotone mono & stereo sync head-sets, crystal sync, 
lO'/i " reel adaptors, Phantom Powers condenser 
mics w/case, power supply & 2 Electrovoice CS-15 
condenser mics. Very good condition; warrantied 
by Zellan. $2300 firm. AKG C451E condenser 
mike, modular CK-1 cardioid head & CK-9 shotgun 
head w/shock mounts & pistol grip, battery power 
supply. Like new. $425 firm. Call: (212) 
427-3842/874-2972, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm upright Moviola editing 
machine. One pix, one sound head, mag or optical. 
Good condition. $1000. Call: (212) 228-6709, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 3 RCA TR-4 quad color video 
recorders, 2 RCA TR-3 quads. Demonstrable 
working condition. New replacement heads, 
motors & other parts suitable for new models. 50 2 " 
tapes & metal storage files. Contact: Jeff Clapp, St. 
John's University, TV Center, Grand Central & 
Utopia Pkwy, NY NY 11439, (212) 990-6161 ext. 
6264. 

• FOR SALE: Microtime base corrector; low cost 
w/high performance, operates w/all heterodyne & 
highband VCRs. Handles fast shuttle speeds for 



32 



easy editing, transparent performance w/digital 
color processing, built-in proc amp, complete 
opera-tor control of all video signals. $3500. Con- 
tact: Ernest Gusella, (212) 925-9095, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Custom-made animation stand. 
Motorized column, hand-cranked compound. 
Price negotiable. Call: (212) 982-3014, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Production forms for short films & 
low -budget features. Set of 40 masters, $12.50 or 
send long SASE for sample. Pads of individual 
forms also available. Contact: Don Kirk Enter- 
prises, Dept. 96, Rt. 9, Box 127, Canyon Lake, TX 
78130. 

• FOR SALE: Good used KCA-60 3 A " videotapes. 
Erased. Good for dubs. $10/ea. $9 for orders over 
10 pes. Contact: Media Bus, (914) 679-7739, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Panasonic 3990 low-light camera 
w/single tube, 10-pin cable, batteries, cases, mike, 
$100. Bell & Howell Angenieux 25mm f/0.95 
C-mount lens. $100. Sackler "Hollywood" tripod. 
$350. Smith-Victor light kit w/case. $225. Call: 
Alan, (212) 222-3321, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Salzman animation stand w/mint 

MAY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Mauer 05 camera. 2 400' mags, automatic 
rackover, opal glass for transparencies, 9.5 " center 
column w/auto/manual movement, 9x 12" com- 
pound optical glass, N-S & E-W peg movement, 
manual follow focus & shutter control. Very solid, 
perfect set-up for school & beginning animators. 
$3000 complete. Leo pod body brace w/Eclair NPR 
mount. $50. Angenieux 12-120 zoom lens w/Arri 
mount & Arri C-mount adaptor. Perfect condition. 
$900. Honeywell 1 "meter. $90. Contact: Anomaly 
Films, (212) 925-1500, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Arri 16-S w/sync generator, 12-120 
zoom 400 ' mag, battery, tripod, changing bag, 2 
motors, cases, many extras. $8500 value, asking 
$3200. Contact: Jim Hubbard, (212)925-4514, NY. 
(Please note that the phone number for this notice 
was printed incorrectly in the Jan/Feb issue.) 

• FOR SALE: Moviola M86 flatbed editor, flicker- 
free prism, low wow & flutter, quick stop circuit, 
torque motor box. 3 yrs. old, excellent condition. 
Fair price. Contact: Ron, (617) 354-6054, MA. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate Steenbeck; old but good, 
rebuilt w/additional amplifier & speaker: $6000 or 
best offer. Call: (212) 765-8860, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex H-16 camera, Wollensak 
25mm-1.9 lens, Solgar 17mm wide-angle 2.7 lens, 
Kodak Astigmatic 2.7-102mm lens, $300. Pan 
Cinor Berthiot VarioSwitar 17-85mm zoom 
w/viewfinder, $700. Bolex 16mm Matte Box, $125. 
Bolex 16mm motor w/battery box at different 
speeds, for hand crank, $60. A S-8 synchronizer, 
$125. Hahnel S-8 splicer, $35. Call: (212) 
677-2181/924-2254, NY. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm upright Moviola. Excellent 
condition; takes single spliced film. 1 picture head; 
2 sound heads. Save on flatbed rentals; it will pay 
for itself. Call: (212) 666-6787, leave message, NY 

• FOR RENT: Complete broadcast-quality pro- 
duction pkg. Includes Ikegami HL-83, V* " JVC 
4700U, color Videotek monitor, wave-form, mikes, 
lights & tripod. Production personnel also 
available. Competitive rates. Contact: Everglade 
Prods., (212) 925-1247, NY. 

• FOR RENT: Ikegami HL-79A, BVU 1 10, lights, 
mikes, insurance. $450/day. Radio mikes, car, sun- 
guns, crew additional as required. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212) 473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Tektronix waveform monitor. $650. 
Panasonic NV-93O0A. $900. JVC 4400 portable 
'/»". $1200. Frezzolini battery belts, 6AH. $125. 
Sharp 13" monitor receiver $300. JVC KY 2000. 
$2400. Contact: SoHo Video, (212) 473-6947, NY. 

• FOR SALE: Sony 366 reel-to-reel 7 " tape deck. 
Quartertrack stereo, 3 heads, new belts, rollers, 
playback head, edit feature. Nagra compatible. 
Best offer. Call: (212) 548-2875 evenings 6-10 pm, 

NY. 

• FOR RENT: New Sony M-3 camera w/ 3 tubes; 
BVU 1 10 or 4800 deck; batteries, monitor, tripod, 
mikes & Lowell lighting. Very portable. Reasonable 
rates for equipment & cameraperson; crew as need- 
ed. Contact: Alan, (212) 222-3321; Caryn, (212) 
222-6748, NY. 

• FOR RENT: 16mm M77 Moviola flatbed, 35BL 
& 16SR. Also, 35B1 for sale. Contact: Film 
Friends, (212) 929-7728, NY. 

NAY 1984 



• FOR RENT: State-of-the-art I6mm film equip- 
ment at incredibly low rates. Call: (212) 222-6699, 

NY. 

• FOR SALE: I6mm hot splicer, Mauer-Hancock 
model 816. $425. Contact: Michael, (212)843-8886, 
NY. 

• FOR RENT: Location video package w/Sony 
DXC-M3 camera/VO-4800. O'Connor/Lisan 
tripod, Sennheir & Sony mikes, Lowel lights, audio 
mixer, portable color monitor. $30/hr. w/techni- 
cian. Contact: Young Filmakers/Video Arts, (212) 
673-9361, NY. 

Conferences • Workshops 

• VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP SUMMER 
INSTITUTE 1984: June 25-Aug. 3. Seminars, cri- 
tiques & workshops in photography, printing, book 
arts & video. Enrollment limited to 12 in most 
courses; tuition $185/1 wk., $285/2 wks. Program 
brochure available; college credit. Contact: Brian 
Kirkey, Summer Institute VSW, 31 Prince St., 
Rochester NY 14607, (716) 442-8676. 

• NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LOCAL CA- 
BLE PROGRAMMERS ANNUAL CONVEN- 
TION: July 19-21 at Sheraton Hotel in Denver Tech 
Center. Theme is Community Programming: 
Managing the Hidden Resources; panels & 
workshops will examine opportunities & problems 
surrounding community involvement in cable TVC 
industry. Over 50 classroom sessions on subjects 
pertinent to access users, local origination pro- 
grammers, independent producers, labor unions, 
community/human service organizations & the arts 
include Access & Management Options, Copyright 
& Contract Issues, Minority Access, Audience 
Measurement & Development. Public invited to 
register. Contact: Convention Coordinator, Pro- 
fessional Meeting Management, 116 N. College 
Av., Ste. 2, Fort Collins CO 80524, (303) 484-6300. 

• VIDEO, FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY WORK- 
SHOPS: Series of 1-wk. intensive workshops at 
Bennington College in video production, filmmak- 
ing, slide/tape production & still photography. 
George Stoney, Richard Kaplan, Sumner Glimcher 
& Eugene Richards. 2 sessions per subject beginn- 
ing Aug. 5 & Aug. 12. Free brochure available. 
Contact: Doug Krause, VF&P Workshops, Benn- 
ington College, Bennington VT 05201, (802) 
442-5401. 

• WORKSHOPS AT COLLECTIVE FOR LIV- 
ING CINEMA: Intermediate Filmmaking, May 
1-June 14, 7-10:30 pm Mon. & Wed. S-8 equipment 
provided. Instructor: Alan Berliner. $125. 
Weekend Workshops: All $85. Lighting, Sat. & 
Sun. May 12 & 13 & Sat. May 19 12-6 pm. Instruc- 
tor: Mark Daniels. Sound Recording, Sat. & Sun. 
June 2 & 3, 10-6 pm. Instructor: Helene Kaplan. 
Optical Printing, Sat. June 9. 10-6 pm & Tues. June 
12, 7-10 pm. Instructor: Bill Brand. Editing Tech- 
niques, Sat. &Sun. June 16 & 17, 10-6 pm. Instruc- 
tor: Alan Berliner. Discounts for taking multiple 
workshops & 10% discounts for Collective 
members. Call: CLC, (212)925-3926, NY. 

Editing Facilities 

• BRAINSTORM PRODUCTIONS: M-77 16mm 
flatbed Moviola, table, rewinds, rivas & guillotine 
splicers, 4 gang synchronizer, trim bin, etc. Regular 
rates: $35/ Vi day, $65/day, $250/wk., $750/ mo. 

(Continued on page 36) 




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33 



THE INDEPENDENT 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



MARY GUZZY 

Diversity is the lifeblood of an expressive 
medium, and in the works of independent 
film and videomakers the fabric of ex- 
istence is explored from many aesthetic 
angles and points of view. The following 
recently completed or nearly completed 
works from AIVF member producers are 
exemplary and reflect a continued commit- 
ment on the part of independents to tackle 
important issues and explore society, 
culture and environment in highly personal 
terms. 

NA TTONAL SWEEP 

From Lubbock, Texas comes a tale of 
many ironies in the realization of Des- 
perado Productions' first project, Murray 
& Arlene, a half-hour documentary which 
tells the story of a transplanted New York 
Jewish couple's difficult adjustment to life 
in west Texas. While Murray faced unem- 
ployment and isolation in the Sun Belt, his 
once-passive, dependent wife found 
herself pursuing a college degree and career 
as a music teacher. Although handicapped 
by polio, economic hardship and family 
pressures, Arlene overcame local prejudice 
and became a spokesperson for working 
women and disabled employees. Just as the 
film was nearing completion, Murray died. 

Producers Mary and Ray La Fontaine, 
who plan to continue making films on "or- 
dinary people of west Texas with unusual 
stories," encountered little support from 
their local PBS affiliate. However, KLBK, 
the local CBS station, took an interest in 
the project and donated editing facilities 
and the enthusiastic help of a staff editor, 
Tim DeSpain, in exchange for first air 
rights. The film was aired three times in 
Lubbock, and to the La Fontaines' pleas- 



ant surprise, "people loved it." Now this 
film that corporate funders wouldn't touch 
has been nominated for a Barbara 
Jordan's Governor's Award by the Texas 
Rehabilitation Commission and received a 
national broadcast on April 3rd 
from— who else?— PBS. 

From just below the Aurora Borealis up 
in the Frozen North comes word from in- 
die Curt Madison of the completion of 
Huteetl: Koyukon Memorial Potlatch, the 
first video depiction of an Alaskan me- 
morial feast for the dead. Shot in the 
village of Hughes, Alaska on the Koyukuk 
River, Huteetl captures a tradition that has 
all but vanished outside the Alaskan interior. 
Those native Alaskans who organized the 
ceremony for deceased relatives requested 
the program as an educational tool for 
their children. The 55-minute program has 
been aired on KU AC-TV of Fairbanks and 
received by nearly 200 villages via the rural 
Alaskan TV Network (RATNET). Huteetl 
was showcased in Manhattan February 2 at 
the Museum of the American Indian. 

Madison, who directed and edited the 
piece, reported that Huteetl was the first 
indie project ever edited on the CMX 
system at the University of Alaska Instruc- 
tional Television Consortium facility. A 
$40,000 grant from the All-Native 
Regional Board of the Yukon-Koyukuk 
School District made it all possible. 

And, in the deep South, Gayla 
Jamison's documentary Enough to Share 
received a national PBS broadcast on 
February 21. Enough to Share is a 
28-minute portrait of Koinonia Farm, a 
1500-acre agricultural collective in south 
Georgia founded in 1942 by scholar and 
theologian Clarence Jordan, dedicated to 




Curt Madison's Huteetl is the first video depiction of a native American memorial feast for the dead. 



cooperation and "peace instead of revolu- 
tion." Residents of Koinonia build their 
own houses, provide day care, farm and 
run a mail order candy and fruitcake 
business. The film was a blue ribbon win- 
ner at the American Film Festival and is 
available from Ideas and Images, Inc., a 
non-profit educational media corporation 
in Atlanta. 

Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80 is 
Massachusetts filmmaker David Suther- 
land's one-hour artist profile on the all- 
but-forgotten American master Paul Cad- 
mus. Aiming "to make a film about an ar- 
tist and his work without using narrators 
and interviewers who would come between 
the viewers and the subject," Sutherland 
embarked on an intense collaboration with 
Cadmus and encouraged the retiring artist 
to speak on camera with candor about his 
life. Sutherland began the project with a 
S-8 "sketch" of the artist at work and at 
leisure and then shot the final version in 
16mm. Among others, Cadmus tells the 
sensational story of the US Navy's con- 
fiscation of his painting The Fleet's In, 
created as part of the WPA Artist's Project 
in the 1930's. National Geographic 
cinematographer Joe Seamans shot the 
film, which was edited by Michael Colon- 
na. It will be screened at the 1984 Sydney 
Film Festival in June. 

Filmmaker Ginny Durrin of Washing- 
ton, DC reports an "incredible response" 
from churches, police, schools and 
grassroots groups to her 19-minute film 
Kevin's Story. The film depicts Kevin 
Tunell, an 18-year-old who killed a young 
woman in a head-on crash while driving 
under the influence of alcohol. Kevin was 
sentenced by a forward-thinking judge to 
talk to high school students, parents and 
teachers for one year about the accident. 

Durrin saw a Washington Post article 
about Kevin's sentence and his first speech. 
She negotiated with his lawyer and proba- 
tion officer for the rights to Kevin's story 
and financed the production herself. The 
film is earning back its expenses and more 
in distribution, and has been awarded a 
Cine Golden Eagle. (Durrin received a 
Golden Eagle for two previous films: Report 
from Beirut: Summer of '82 and Solidar- 
nosc.) Kevin's Story is available from the 
New Day Films distribution co-op. 

DOCUMENT A RYD YNA MOS 

With four tapes almost ready for the air- 
waves, the Documentary Guild of Colrain, 
MA is coming into its own. WNET/Ch 13 
in New York will broadcast one of them, 
Will Our Children Thank Us?, this month. 

Producers Maurice Jacobsen, Pam Rob- 
erts and Ed Wierzbowski have spent five 
years on this project which they funded 
themselves. The 58-minute tape follows the 
lives of three very different New England 
anti-nuclear activists. Focusing on the 
process of social change and its effect on 

HAY 1084 



THE INDEPENDENT 



the individual, the piece also chronicles the 
growth of the anti-nuclear movement. It is 
narrated by Dr. Benjamin Spock. 

Jacobsen reports that the Documentary 
Guild ended up giving Will Our Children 
Thank Us? to PBS when they were told at the 
contract stage that PBS could not come up 
with a previously mentioned $5,000-10,000 
acquisition fee. The producers felt the im- 
portance of broadcasting the program 
went beyond the fee. 

The group's other projects have had bet- 
ter luck in the funding game. Dialogues, a 



posers involved with project are Noah 
Creshevsky and Alice Eve Cohen. 

Cantow is responsible for photography, 
editing, producing and sound design: "In 
short, the whole film." Through the in- 
terplay of poetic and documentary images 
and the creative use of sound, she seeks to 
reveal both "the artist at work and her in- 
terpretation of the inner landscape of the 
man." 

From upstate New York, Cambiz Khos- 
ravi of Woodstock reports the completion 
of two video works, Still Life and F.C.G. 



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co-production with Soviet television which 
examines Soviet -American relations, has 
received about $30,000 from individuals 
and small foundations, including 
Ploughshares of San Francisco and the 
Bydale Foundation. The tape will be 
broadcast in the US and USSR on the same 
(still to be determined) day. Small grants 
from the Rockefeller Family Fund have 
supported Tennessee Heavy Metal and 
Civil Defense, two documentaries concern- 
ed with safety in the nuclear industry. Both 
tapes will be completed by early summer. 
"We're really persistent," said Jacobsen 
when asked about the fundraising success 
of the Documentary Guild. "It's been a 
long time getting to this point, but we just 
keep pluggin' along." 

EXPERIMENTAL INPUT 

Difficult to program in the mainstream, 
but no less vital to the survival and growth 
of independent media, are experimental 
works, several of which have been brought 
to our attention by AIVF members: 

Roberta Cantow (Clotheslines) has com- 
pleted If This Ain't Heaven, "an intimate 
and interior portrait of a man and his rela- 
tionship with a cat." The project was fund- 
ed by the National Endowment for the 
Arts, the Women's Project of the Film 
Fund, the Jerome Foundation and a sti- 
pend from Meet the Composer. Com- 
M AY 1904 



Still Life begins as a documentary about 
the late Ruth Zack, a painter, and her 
daughter in the last months of the artist's 
life. Originally conceived as a mother- 
daughter interview and visual survey of 
Ruth Zack's paintings, the 48-minute tape 
quickly transmutes into a chilling dialogue 
between the women revealing the lifelong 
tensions underlying their relationship and 
their severely divergent values and con- 
cepts of life and death. 

Ruth Zack's daughter was so pleased 
with the results of Still Life that she com- 
missioned Khosravi to produce F.C.G. , a 
39-minute satire which proceeds in a non- 
linear manner to comment on "the ideo- 
logical role of TV in selling soap and for- 
eign intervention." By spoofing television 
advertising cliches, news programs and 
"Masterpiece Theatre"-type cultural 
shows, F.C.G. ("Freedom, Country, 
God") attempts to illustrate how television 
can distort our view of the world and con- 
trol our understanding of events. 

New York City filmmaker Barbara 
Hammer has completed Bent Time, a 
22-minute, I6mm color film funded by the 
Jerome Foundation. Bent Time is a one- 
point perspective visual path across the US 
beginning inside a linear accelerator — or 
atom-smashing device — and travelling to 
such high-energy locations as the home of 
the ancient sun calendar in Chaco Canyon, 




Purrfection? // 77»'s Ain't Heaven, an experimental 
work about a man and his cat. 

New Mexico, the site of the Ohio Valley 
Mound cultures, the Golden Gate and 
Brooklyn Bridges, and beyond. 

Scientists have noted that light rays 
curve at the outer edges of the universe, 
leading them to theorize that time also 
bends. Inspired by this idea, Hammer used 
an extreme wide angle lens and "one frame 
of film per foot of physical space" to 
simulate the concept of bent time. The 
film is accompanied by Pauline Oliveros' 
original score for voice and accordion, 
Rattlesnake Mountain. Bent Time will be 
featured in a showing of Hammer's recent 
work at New York City's Millennium Film 
Workshop in mid-May. 

Finally, following up on filmmakers 
previously noted in this column, Steven 
Brand's feature documentary Kaddish was 
presented April 3 in the Film Society of 
Lincoln Center's New Directors/New 
Films series. And Calgero Salvo (Juan 
Felix Sanchez) premiered his newest work, 
a one-hour documentary on the Guajiro 
Indians of Colombia entitled La Guajiro, 
at the San Francisco Art Institute on 
February 18. ■ 




Painter Ruth Zack and daughter in Cambiz 
Khosravi's confrontational Still Lite. 

35 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Student/non-profit rates: $30/ Vi day, $50/day, 
$180/wk., $600/mo. Contact: Kit Jones, 220 East 
23 St., NY NY 10010, (212) 686-1580. 

• 16mm EDITING ROOM w/6-plate Steenbeck, 
bins, synchronizer, viewer & splicer. Access: 10 
am-6 pm, Mon.-Fri. $100/wk. Special arrange- 
ments for evening & weekend rentals. Contact: R. 
Geist, Women's Interart Center, (212) 246-1050, 
NY. 

• SUITE 27: Broadcast interformat editing at C&C 
Visual introduces expanded state of the art video 
post-production. Sony Betacam, BVU 800 & BVH 
200 machines; system operated by Sony edit con- 
troller. Character generation, CMX-compatible 
full production switcher, punch tape & hard copy 
for time-code. On or off-line projects, 1 " or Vi " 
masters, 24 hr., 7-day access. Contact: Christopher 
Cohen, Ian Greenstein, C&C Visual, Ltd., 12 West 
27 St., NY NY 10001, (212) 684-3837. 



• FOR RENT: Editing room w/i6mm 6-plate 
flickerless Moviola. In-house rental only; 16-hr. ac- 
cess; upper West Side location. $25/day, $150/wk., 
$500/mo. Call: Rondo Productions, (212) 
496-7244, NY. 



• TWO COMPLETE EDITING ROOMS in Chel- 
sea: (a)24hr. access: Moviola flatbed w/torque 
motor box; complete 16mm edit equipment; com- 
plete kitchen & bathroom; minimal office facilities; 
telephone; air conditioning. (b)10am-6pm access: 
Steenbeck; complete 16mm edit equipment; ltd. kit- 
chen, bath facilities; specialized edit equipment 
available at extra cost. Contact: David Loucka, 
Lance Bird, (212)584-7530, NY. 



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36 



• EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION FACILI- 
TIES AVAILABLE- Short-term rentals only. 9am- 
5pm business days. KEM 8-plate 16/35mm, 3 A" 
editing, sound transfer, narration recording, exten- 
sive sound effects library, interlock screening. Con- 
tact: Cinetudes Film Productions, 295 West 4 St., 
NY NY 10014; (212) 966-4600. 

• BRODSKY & TREAD WA Y S-8 & 8MM FILM- 
TO-VIDEO TRANSFER MASTERS: Scene-by- 
scene density & total color correction, variable 
speed & freeze frame, sound from any source. Ar- 
tists & broadcasters like our work. By appointment 
only. Call: (617) 666-3372, MA. 




To all independent video & film folk who send 
materials to "In & Out of Production": If you have 
striking b/w production stills from your project, 
preferably in vertical format with good contrast, 
send them along with the written copy to Mary 
Guzzy, Notices Editor. Please indicate whether or 
not you wish the photo returned & label the still 
with title, director, actors, situation, return ad- 
dress & phone number. Let's have a full-page 
photo spread of recent independent work!! 



• STEENBECKSFOR RENT: Moderately priced 
by the month. Delivered to your workspace. 
Prompt repairs included. Call: Paul, (212) 
316-2913, NY. 

• LARGE COMFORTABLE EDITING ROOM 
w/KEM 8-plate Universal editing table, 16mm & 
35mm, rewinds, bins, splicers, synchronizers, etc., 
private phone, additional office space available. 
Midtown location. Call: Errol Morris Films, 1697 
Broadway, NY NY 10019, (212) 757-7478/ 
582-4045. 

• SONY TYPE V EDITING EQUIPMENT: 

Excellent hourly rate if you use average 10 or more 
hrs. editing time per month. Contact: Michael 
Schwartz, (212)925-7771/966-6009, NY. 

• REGULAR & S-8 FILM-TO-VIDEO TRANS- 
FER: Professional quality, industrial or broadcast; 
much better than you've seen before. Supervised or 
unsupervised; reasonable rates. Contact: Landy, 
400 East 83 St. HA, NY NY 10028; (212) 734-1402. 

• SONY BVU V* " EDITING: $25 hr. w/editor. 
Call: (212)242-2320, NY. 

• EDITOR OF A CADEMY A ff04/?Z>-nominated 
documentary now cuts 3 A " video off-line. JVC 
decks w/FM dub, Cezar IVC microprocessor con- 
troller, special effects keyer & colorizer, fade to 
black, waveform & pulse cross monitor, B&W 
graphics camera w/animation stand & titling 
system, mics, turntable, audio cassette, VHS time 
code burn in. $25/hr. for projects under $3500. 
Contact: Bruce Ettinger, (212) 226-8489, NY. 

• SELF-SERVICE EDITING: V* " JVC 
Tapehandlers, RM-88U editor, free instruction. 
$20/hr. Transfers, dubs, etc. Contact: SoHo 
Video, (212)473-6947, NY. 



• SUNNY, ATTRACTIVE, FURNISHED OR 
UNFURNISHED OFFICES w/private entrances 
near West Village. 1& 2 room suites. Con- 
ference/screening room & office equipment 
available to share. Very high floor, panoramic 
views, small terraces, air-conditioning, excellent 
security. 24-hr. building. $550/mo. single, $850 
mo. double. Short or long term sublet. Contact: 
David Greaves, (212) 206-1213, NY. 

• LARGE EDIT ROOM w/6-plate Steenbeck, 
windows, carpet, phone, access to video deck, copy 
machine, etc. Contact: Bob McBride, Earthrise, 
330 West 42 St., NY NY 10036, (212) 594-6967. 

• FOR RENT: Moviola M-77's. $500/mo. in your 
workspace. 15% discount to AIVF members. Con- 
tact: Philmaster Productions , (212) 873-4470, NY. 

• VIDEO EDITING & TIME CODING: V* " hi- 
speed video editing on new JVC 8250 w/con- 
vergence control. $20/30 per hour. Low rates for 
time coding & time code editing. Call: Inpoint Pro- 
duction, (212) 679-3172, NY. 

• TIME CODE EDITING: V* ", VHS, Beta I 
w/fast search. Time code & control track editing in 
our Video Fine Edit Room. W/technician: $30/35 
hr. Contact: Young Filmakers/Video Arts, (212) 
673-9361, NY. 

• TIME CODE BURN-IN & STRIPING: V* " 
VHS, Beta I. Burn-in: $20/hr. Striping: $15/hr. 
Contact: Young Filmakers/Video Arts, (212) 
673-9361, NY. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• NEW DAY FILMS, 10-yr., award-winning na- 
tional distribution cooperative of social issue films 
seeks excellent films & filmmakers seriously com- 
mitted to distribution. Information & application 
form available. May deadline. Contact: Joanne 
Grant, 30 East 9 St., NY NY 10003. 

• FRANCE'S NEWNA TIONAL SCIENCE MU- 
SEUM SEEKS INDPENDENT SCIENCE FILMS: 
Pare de La Villette, scheduled to open in Paris to 
public in 1986, seeks American independent 16mm 
films/tapes of non-commercial nature in fields of 
natural & environmental science, transportation, 
energy, agriculture, animal life, industry, etc. Not 
needed at this time are films of ethnological, 
sociological, educational or psychological interest. 
Contact: Emma Cohn, 2827 Valentine Av., Bronx 
NY 10458. 

• FOX/LORBER ASSOCIATES, specialists in 
TV marketing & distribution, expanding feature 
film library for representation. Interested in full- 
length English language films w/primarily nar- 
rative structure for sale to pay TV/cable, broadcast 
& home video, both domestic & foreign. Minimum 
length: 60 min.; no subtitles. Contact: Ericka 
Markman, Fox/Lorber Assocs., 79 Madison Av., 
#601, NY NY 10016; (212) 686-6777. 

• PELICAN FILMS seeks films/tapes for 
distribution to holistic health movement. We offer 
alternative to traditional non-theatrical distribu- 
tion. Contact: Arthur Hoyle, 3010 Santa Monica 
Blvd., #440, Santa Monica, CA 90404; (213) 
399-3753. 

• DISTRIBUTOR of 16mm environmental issue 
films looking for new titles for developing 
catalogue. Contact: Umbrella Films, 60 Blake Rd., 
Brookline MA 02146, (617) 277-6639. 

MAY 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



• SEARCHING FOR FILM, any format, covering 
events on Brandeis University campus, Ford Hall, 
Sanctuary, etc. from Dec. 1968-Jan. 1969. Primari- 
ly interested in visuals, 1 -2 min. worth, for use in in- 
dependent narrative film. Prepared to pay costs. 
Contact: Nina, (617) 625-4316, MA. 

Freelancers 

• PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT offers 
assistance w/audience development, publicity cam- 
paigns, developing marketing & promotional 
materials. Contact: Kristen Simone, (212) 
289-8299, NY. 

• SOUNDWOM AN AVAILABLE w/equipment 
to work as recordist or boom operator. Speaks 
Spanish. Negotiable rates. Contact: Lisa Schnall, 
(212) 499-3679, NY. 

mCINEMATOGRAPHER w/16mm Aaton & 
lights available to work w/independents on doc & 
narrative films. Negotiable rates. Contact: East 
Marion Films, (212) 420-0335, NY. 



SPECIAL THANKS 

FIVF gratefully thanks the 

following Individuals for 

contributions to the 

organization. 

George Stoney, NY NY 

Lewis Griggs, Yonkers, NY 

Rick Wise, Oakland, CA 

Gerald Osoki, Madison Heights, Ml 

Jack Levine, Philadelphia, PA 

Herbert Schiller, La Jolla, CA 

Charles Musser, NY NY 



• GAFFER w/lights pkg. 2K, D-lights, totalights, 
hair-lights, stands, umbrellas, grip arms, etc. 
$15/day. Contact: Alan Steinheimer, (212) 
222-3321, NY. 

• CAMERAMAN AVAILABLE w/own 16SR, 
35BL & Icky. Some French & Spanish, extensive 
travel in Caribbean. Call: Mik Cribben, (212) 
929-7728, NY. 

• CAMERA OPERATOR/ ASSISTANT w/ ACL 
& 12-120mm. Contact: Denise Brassard, (212) 
925-2531, NY. 

• 16mm EDITOR AVAILABLE: NYU-trained 
w/references & short reel. Willing to work for little 
money; will consider working for screen credit. In- 
terest in any/all phases of post-production. Also 
available as consultant for video editing. Call: 
April, (201) 743-7345, NJ. 

• CAMERA ASSISTANT w/ Aaton 7 LTR for 
hire. Lighting & grip package available. Contact: 
John, (914)473-0633, NY. 

• RESEARCHER: Access & familiarity w/all 
NYC libraries & Library of Congress in DC. Effi- 
cient & meticulous w/background in history, 
political economy & filmmaking. Rate negotiable. 
Contact: Danny, (212) 924-4711, NY. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER AVAILABLE w/Arri 
16SR, fast lenses & lights. Fluent in French, 
Spanish. Negotiable rates. Contact: Pedro Bonilla, 
(212)662-1913, NY. 

• NEWS CREW AVAILABLE w/16mm & V*" 
MAY 1084 



production gear. Professional credits on request. 
Contact: Pacific St. Films, 630 Ninth Av., NY NY 
10036, (212)875-9722. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER AVAILABLE for fic- 
tion, documentary. Fully equipped including 
Aaton 7LTR, Cooke 10.4-52, 16 or S16, Super 
Speed, L.T1.3. Reasonable rates. Contact: Igor 
Sunara, (212)249-0416, NY. 

• PENNY WARD/VIDEO: Rentals — Sony 
DXC-1800 camera, Beta 1 Portapak, mike & 
monitor w/operator, $150 day; same w/VO-4800 
deck, $175/day. Transfers— Vi " Beta to V* ", 
$10/hr. Viewing— Vi" Beta & V* ", $5/hr. 
Editor— $10/hr. Call: (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• GAFFER A VAILABLE for low-budget features 
or shorts. 12 yrs. experience including theater, 
video, film. Contact: Chris, (212) 499-3219, NY. 

• EXPERIENCED VIDEOGRAPHER with film 
background available. Sample reel on request. W/ 
or w/o own broadcast rig. Rates negotiable for 
social-issue type work. Call David Schulman, (212) 
966-0804, NY. 

• ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR, currently free- 
lancing in print, looking for work in production 
design. Some film experience; resume, portfolio 
available. Contact: Eva, (212) 724-3879, NY. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/new Sony DXC-M3 
3-tube camera ready to shoot docs, dance & other 
projects. Deck, mikes, accessories & crew as need- 
ed. Rates negotiable. Contact: L. Goodsmith, (212) 
989-8157, NY. 

• EXPERIENCED DOCUMENTARY CAM- 
ERAMAN w/ACL, 12-120mm available. 
$125/day includes rate & camera. Call: Dennis, 
(802) 257-5683, VT. 

• EXPERIENCED RESEARCHER: Background 
in journalism & science, German/French/English 
w/film archive, library & personal investigative ex- 
perience in fields of anthropology, Third World 
media/communications, politics. Good organiza- 
tional skills. Call: Wolfgang, (212) 636-6026, NY. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

• PRODUCTION ASSISTANT & ASSISTANT 
PRODUCER wanted to work w/experienced film- 
maker on production of partially funded "arts 
documentary" for PBS. Contact: East Marion 
Films, (212) 420-0335, NY. 

• FILM SCRIPTS WANTED for low to medium 
budget feature film projects. Contact: David Ray, 
(212)496-7422, NY. 

• ROBERTO MONTICELLO is looking for 
scripts for 3-picture deal for European distribution, 
especially scripts of political & social significance. 
No unnecessary sex and/or violence. Mail synopsis 
only. Advance pay. Contact: R. Monticello, PO 
Box 372, Village Station, NY NY 10014. 

• EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Sinking Creek Film 
Celebration. Available now. Experience required in 
administration, fundraising & motivation of 
volunteers for non-profit arts support organization 
w/year-round program of independent film. Salary 
negotiable. Contact: James Sandlin, 402 Sarratt, 
Nashville TN 37240, (615) 322-2471. 




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THE INDEPENDENT 



• ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF NEWS & PUB- 
LIC AFFAIRS AT CPB: Available July 2. Re- 
sponsibilities include development of public affairs 
policy; recommendations to Program Fund direc- 
tor on funding; developing new programming & 
relationships w/public & commercial TV & other 
media; supervision of public affairs staff; work 
w/peer panels & consultants monitoring projects 
through all phases of development including pro- 
duction & distribution. Requirements: B.A. or 
equivalent, 5-10 yrs. in news & public affairs area of 
TV production, significant experience as producer 
or other top level w/major broadcasting entity. Ap- 
ply immediately (official deadline is past). Contact: 
Ms. M.M. Collins, Personnel, CPB 1111 16th St. 
NW, Washington DC 20036. 



Publications 

• INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO MAKERS 
GUIDE by Michael Wiese. Expanded 1984 edition 
of Independent Filmmakers Guide, contains new 
sections on pay TV buyers, film & video distribu- 
tors, music videos, successful presentation techni- 
ques & basic info on financing, production & 
distribution of film & video. 400 pp., $14.95. Con- 
tact: M. Wiese, PO Box 406, Westport CT 06881 . 

• THE MACMILLAN FILM BIBLIOGRAPHY 
by George Rehrauer. 2 volumes include critical 
survey of 7000 English-language film books & ex- 
haustive subject, author, script index covering 80 
years of film history. 1472 pp., $120 plus $3 ship- 
ping & handling. Contact: Claire Schoen, Mac- 
Millan Publishing Co., 866 Third Av., NY NY 
10022. 

• ILLUSTRATED WHO'S WHO OF CINEMA 
by Ann Lloyd, Graham Fuller, Arnold Desser. Pro- 
files o2500 actors, directors, cinematographers, 
screenwriters, stuntment.animators&other artists; 
biographies, filmographies, 1500 photos. Includes 
exhaustive survey of 1930's& '40's, pioneers of ear- 
ly cinema & today's avant-garde films. 468 pp., $65 
plus $1.50 shipping & handling. $35 off if ordered 
w/MacMillan Film Biography. Contact: Clarie 
Schoen, MacMillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Av., 
NY NY 10022. 

• S8 IN THE VIDEO A GE by Bob Brodsky & Toni 
Treadway now available in Spanish, $10, USA. Dis- 
counts for residents of Latin America due to grant 
from Ford Foundation. 2nd English edition now 
$14.95 pre-paid, contact: Brodsky & Treadway, 63 
Dimick St., Somerville, M A 02143. 

• THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL has published 
comprehensive new Film Index describing film 
titles on wide range of relevant social issues. Free. 
Brochures on Black American Cinema & Minority 
Women in Film also availalbe. $1. Contact: TWN, 
160 Fifth Av., Ste. 911, NY NY 10010, (212) 
243-2310. 



Resources • Funds 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE 
HUMANITIES accepting proposals for projects to 
begin on or after April 1, 1985. Deadline: July 30, 
1984. Contact: NEH, Division of General Pro- 
grams, 1100 Pennsylvania Av. NW, Washington 
DC 20506, (202) 786-0278. 

• FILM TITLE SER VICES: Cut your optical cost 
w /camera-ready art for film titles. Many typefaces 
available. Design consultation if desired. Fast serv- 

38 



ice, reasonable rates. Call: (212) 460-8921/ 
460-8940, NY. 

• CREDIT FOR PEOPLE IN THE ARTS: Pro- 
gram launched by Timesaver, Inc. enables creative 
people to get Mastercard & VISA regardless of in- 
come, job history or occupation. Cardholders must 
keep minimum $300 in interest-bearing savings ac- 
count at Key Federal Savings & Loan of Baltimore 
MD & pay annual $25 fee for each card. 1-time $25 
processing fee is refunded if application is denied. 
Credit limit determined by amount in savings ac- 
count; limit raised after first year if account is in 
good standing. Contact: Timesaver, Inc. 12276 
Wilkins Av., Rockville MD 20852, (800) 368-2800. 

• THE COLLECTIVE: Promotion & artists' 
representation company works w/artists & techni- 



Coming 
Attractions 



• AFI: Rocky Adolescence 

• Theatrical Sensibility on Video 

• Books, Books, Books 

• Business Report: 

The American Film Market 

• In Focus: The 

Betacam /Panasonic Shoot-off 



In upcoming issues of THE 

INDEPENDENT 



cians in film/video production, photography, 
catering & artist development. Current clients in- 
clude Lenslight Assoc, (music video producers) & 
Rocks Off (club & record membership card net- 
work). Contact: The Collective, 153 West 27 St., 
Ste. 1201, NY NY 10001, (212) 206-0480. 

• POST-PRODUCTION MEDIA GRANTS up to 

$1000 for video & audio works-in-progress by New 
York State artists. Deadline: May 1, 1984. Non- 
profit NY state organizations may apply for 
assistance in media workshops, screenings, etc. for 
projects not funded by NY State Council on the 
Arts. No deadline. Contact: Media Bureau, c/o 
The Kitchen, 59 Wooster St., NY NY 10012, (212) 
925-3615. 

• LIGHTING, GRIP EQUIPMENT REPAIR & 
MAINTENANCE: Design special rigs & ac- 
cessories; experienced w/HMI lighting units. 4 yrs. 
experience w/Elmack dollies. Contact: Chris, (212) 
499-3219, NY. 

• LEGAL SER VICES: Experienced entertainment 
lawyer specializing in independent productions. 
Reasonable rates. Contact: Paula Schaap, (212) 
777-6361/460-5015, NY. 

• WHEN YOU'RE SHOOTING IN NY: Key 
Light Productions, independent film & video pro- 
ducers, can furnish you w/complete production or 



support staff; researchers, writers, PAs, 
camerapeople & crews. Our credits include net- 
work, PBS, independent & industrial productions. 
Call: Beth, (212) 581-9748, NY. 

• COMING OUT WEST? NY indies planning to 
shoot in northern California or Bay Area can save 
time & money by contacting Karil Daniels to coor- 
dinate most effective, least expensive shoot possi- 
ble. 10 years experience w/San Francisco indepen- 
dent film community. Contacts to quality freelance 
crew members, locations, equipment, services & 
supplies at best rates. Contact: Point of View 
Prods., 2477 Folsom St., San Francisco CA 941 10; 
(415) 821-0435. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: A & B rolls cut, 

scenes pulled for opticals etc. Color & b/w, rever- 
sal, negative stocks. Reliable service, reasonable 
rates. Call: (212) 786-6278, NY. 

• GOT A RIGHTS PROBLEM? Want to use 
recording, film footage, obtain music license, get 
rights to literary work or photo? Barbara Zimmer- 
man's service provides solutions to these problems 
& more. Special free initial consultation for readers 
who mention they say this ad in The Independent,. 
Contact: Barbara Zimmerman, 145 West 86 St., 
NY NY 10024; (212) 580-0615. 

• OMNI PROPS: Specializing in design & con- 
struction of strange, unusual props & set pieces for 
film, video, photography. Contact: Richard Sands, 
179 Grand St., Brooklyn NY 11211; (212) 387-3744. 

• PENNY WARD/ VIDEO: Documentation of 
dance, theater workshops & performances. Col- 
laboration & consultation; ex-dancer sympathetic 
to dancers' needs. Video for dance research proj- 
ects. Video resumes for grant applications. Con- 
tact: Penny Ward, (212) 228-1427, NY. 

• RUB A DUB DUB: Clean audio transfers. Sync 
& non-sync, from V* " reels/cassette/records to 
16mm magstock. 12-band equalizations available. 
Free pick up & delivery in NYC. Special rates for in- 
dependents. Also, 2 CP-16s, w/lights & meters 
rented for the price of 1. Contact: Forte, (212) 
738-9126, NY. 



Trims • Glitches 

• CONGRATULATIONS TO MIDWEST AIVF 
MEMBERS awarded 1984 Regional Fellowships in 
film & video production: Andrea Gomez of Fern- 
dale MI received $4500 for The Enchanted Horse, 
Laura Kipnis of Chicago was awarded $2000 for 
Ecstasy Unlimited & Loretta Smith, also of 
Chicago, received $5000 for Flower of the Dragon. 
Grants will be administered by Center for New 
Television of Chicago. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Jon Alpert of 
Downtown Community TV, awarded a 1983 Alfred 
I. DuPont/Columbia University journalism award 
for American Survival, produced in association 
w/NBC News. Also receiving the DuPont/Colum- 
bia award were Meg Switzgable & WGBH-TV, 
Boston for In Our Water, presented on the PBS 
"Frontline" series. 

• CORRECTION: Last month's "Input" article 
by Wanda Bershen contained two editorial errors. 
The first sentence in the second paragraph should 
have started, "In 1977 ..." The second line on p. 14 
should have referred to "a good 30°7o of the average 
20 hours of American programming." 

MAY 1984 



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INDEPENDENT 

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As an independent video or filmmaker, you've 
decided to work "outside the system"— which 
means you need a community of peers even more. 
The Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers 
(AIVF) is such a community. As the national trade 
association for independent producers, AIVF 
represents your needs and goals to government, 
industry and the general public. After eight years of 
testifying before Congress, lobbying the public TV 
system, and working through media coalitions to 
preserve and strengthen cable access, we've 
proven that together we have a voice people must & 
do listen to. 

Along with our sister organization, the Foundation 
tor Independent Video & Film {FIVF), we also offer 
you a wealth of concrete services: 

* Comprehensive health insurance at affordable 
rates * The Independent Magazine, our film & 
video monthly * FIVF's Festival Bureau, providing 
foreign & domestic liaison * Comprehensive 
information services * Professional Screenings 

• Seminars 



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Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, (between; 
Bleecker & Houston) 9th floor, New York NY 10012. Drop by our 
offices or call (212) 473-3400. 



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New York NY 10012 




camera 
obscura 



No. 11 



Fall 1983 



Mary Ann Doane 

Gilda: Epistemology as Striptease 
Raymond Bellour 

Thierry Kuntzel and the Return of Writing 
Linda Reisman 

Personal Film I Feminist Film 

Interview with Mar/one Keller 
Luli McCarroll 

Dissecting The Body Human: The Sexes (CBS) 
Reviews of Jameson's The Political Unconscious. 
Pollock's Mary Cassatt; Report on the UCLA 
Gay and Lesbian Media Conference; 
Women Filmmakers in West Germany (part 2). 



Subscriptions (one year or three issues) US: individuals $10.50; institutions 
$21.00. Foreign: individuals $13 50; institutions $27-00. Back issues: $4.00 
No. 3/4: $7.00. No. 8-9-10: $11.00. (Payable in US dollars.) No. 1 and 2 are 
out of print Back issues may be ordered from Camera Obscura, PO Box 
25899. '-os Angeles, CA 90025. Please note our change of address 



NON-PROFIT ORG. 
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MOVING? LET US KNOW. . . 
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an address change, and we don 't 
want you to miss a single issue. 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



JUNE 1984 



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The Inside Story of 
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THE INDEPENDENT 



L 



THE 

INDEPENDENT 

JUNE 1984, VOLUME 7, NUMBER 5 

Publisher: Lawrence Sapadin 

Editor: Kathleen Hulser 

Associate Editors: Susan Linfield, 

Renee Tajima 

Contributing Editors: Bob Brodsky, 

Debra Goldman, Mary Guzzy, Fenton 

Johnson, Jacqueline Leger, David Leitner, 

Wendy Lidell, Toni Treadway 

Contributors: Eric Breitbart, Maria Cohen, 

Deborah Erickson, Lois Fishman, Isaac 

Jackson, David Keller, Andrea Rawson, 

Maria T. Rojas, Paula Schaap, Ken Stier, 

Adrienne Weiss 

Art Director: Deborah Payne 

Art Assistants: David Chasteau, 

Giannella Garrett 

Advertising: Barbara Spence; 

Marionette, Inc. (346-3061/346-8854) 

Distributor: Bernhard DeBoer 

Typesetting: Skeezo Typography 

Printer: PetCap Press 

The Independent is published 10 times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, a not-for-profit, tax- 
exempt educational foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the Asso- 
ciation of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of in- 
dependent producers and individuals involved in 
independent video and film. Subscription is in- 
cluded with membership in AIVF. Together, 
FIVF and AIVF provide a broad range of educa- 
tional and professional services for in- 
dependents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Articles in The Independent are contributed 
by our members and supporters. If you have an 
idea for, or wish to contribute, an article to The In- 
dependent, contact the editor at the above address. 

The copyright in all articles contained in The 
Independent is jointly owned by FIVF and the 
particular author, except where otherwise noted . 
Consequently, the right to reprint same will re- 
quire the written permission of both FIVF and 
the particular author. Views expressed are those 
of the authors, and not necessarily of AIVF or 
FIVF. 

A1VF/F1VF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, executive 
director; Wendy Lidell, assistant director; Isaac Jackson, media 
coordinator; Andrea Estepa, membershipservices; Mary Guzzy, 
information services; Sol Horwitz, Short Film Showcase project 
administrator; Susan Linfield, Short Film Showcase ad- 
ministrative assistant. 

A1VF/F1VFBOARDSOFD1RECTORS: Robert Richter, presi- 
dent; William Greaves, vice president; Lillian Jimenez, chair; 
Peter Kinoy, secretary; Matt Clarke, treasurer; Pearl Bowser; 
Loni Ding; Denise Oliver; Howard Petrick; Lawrence Sapadin 
(ex officio); Richard Schmiechen; Tom Turley. 

A Publication of 

The Foundation for 

Independent Video & Film 

a 

The Association of 

Independent Video A 

Filmmakers 



CONTENTS 



Features 



American Film Institute 

Does the AFI Serve Indies?* Debra Goldman 

Legal Talk 

Part II: For-Profits • Paula R. Schaap 



Columns 



16 
14 



Media Clips • CPB Turns Around 

Also: Mexico and Spain • Renee Tajima et. al. 

The Independent's Lexicon 

A Must for All Indies • Eric Breitbart 

Book Reviews 

From Business Tips to Film Care • Renee Tajima et. al. 

Summary of AIVF Board Minutes 

Festivals: Montreal Nouveau 

Also: NY, Mannheim, Nyon • Kathleen Hulser et. al. 

In & Out of Production 

Mary Guzzy 

Notices 

Edited by Mary Guzzy 



4 
27 

8 

13 
20 

28 
30 



COVER: Is AFI becoming anything more than a caricature of its own logo? It has a large new campus for 
training filmmakers, funnels production money from the NEA to filmmakers, does exhibition tours, 
publishes AMERICAN FILM, does preservation, and has a special women directors workshop and a new 
Video Center — all under a mandate to foster film art and coordinate national services to the field. Debra 
Goldman 's article explores AFI's priorities and the impact of its heavy campus debt. Illustration and 
concept by David Keller. 



ERRATA 



We would like to clarify the use of the words 
"net" and "gross" in the article on distribution 
pick-ups "The Theatrical Track from Courtship 
to Contract" (April, 1984 Independent). On 
page 19 we say, "The standard money deal is a 
50-50 or a 60-40 split on the gross after 
costs. . . " In fact, the word "gross" seems to be 
used quite lightly in the business. "Gross after 
costs," for example, is technically the definition 
for "net." In Robert I. Freedman's article 
"Square Deal: Choosing a Distributor" (De- 
cember, 1982 Independent) he points out the 
following — and very sound — resolution to the 
legalese maze: "The second most material provi- 
sion is compensation, or in contract language, 
the consideration for the grant of rights. Again, 
specificity is vital . . . Where payment is a percen- 
tage of something, the definitions could be more 
important than the size of the percentage. 
Words such as 'income' and 'net' have very little 
meaning without a definition. There are almost 
as many definitions as there are contracts. 
Words such as 'producer's gross' or 'distribu- 



tor's net' are particularly ambiguous and 
without concise definitions." — RT 

The Independent welcomes letters to the 
editors. Send them to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York NY 10012. Letters may be edited 
for length and clarity. 



CPB New Minority Funds 
Available 

Public telecommunications organizations are 
invited by the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting to submit proposals for Native 
American, Asian or Pacific Islander minority 
programming consortia. Financial support is 
available from CPB under its Minority Consortia 
Policy to assist organizations in co-production, 
acquisition and distribution of minority 
programs for public radio and television. 
Proposal deadline: July 16. 1984. Guidelines 
and further information are available. Contact: 
Lourdes Santiago, Department of Human 
Resources, CPB, 1111 Sixteenth St.. NW. 
Washington DC 20036. (202) 955-5308. 



JUNE 1904 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Media Clips 



CPB Turnaround Nixes 
Indie Agreement 



Renee Tajima 

The good news is that the recently-formed 
National Coalition of Independent Public 
Broadcast Producers and CPB representatives 
reached an unprecedented agreement on major 
issues on March 16. [The coalition is a direct 
successor to IPAB — see The Independent, April 
1984.] The bad news is that CPB's Board of 
Directors then substantially rejected the agree- 
ment — putting independents almost back to 
square one. 

The original agreement included the follow- 
ing points: 

1) As of fiscal year 1985, no work produced for 
Frontline would be considered "independent 
production," since editorial control for the 
series rests with its station rather than with in- 
dividual producers. Funds distributed to 
Frontline under the rubric of independent pro- 
duction would not be retroactively reimbursed, 
but they would be replaced in the future by 
substantial amounts from the Open Solicitation 
fund or an equivalent. 

2) The majority of panelists on every funding 
panel would be selected from a pool of panelists 
mutually approved by CPB and independent 
representatives. In addition, CPB agreed to 
develop a mechanism by which panelists would 
be able to review proposals rejected by staff. 

3) A project can be considered a "minority pro- 
duction" only when it is created by minority 
producers, not simply when it concerns minority 
subjects. At least two of the three key positions 
(writer, producer, director) on the project must 
be held by minorities for the production to 
qualify. 

4) Sixty percent of an anticipated supplemental 
1984 PBS appropriation — equalling approx- 
imately $1.5 million — would be earmarked for a 
special round of independent productions to be 
chosen through the Open Solicitation process. 

As a result of the agreement, the Coalition 
agreed not to seek new legislation at the March 
Congressional hearings. The Coalition's mem- 
bers returned to their home constituencies with 
news of the indie success. 

But one week after the March 16 meeting — 
on what may be known hereafter as Black 
Friday — AIVF executive director Lawrence 
Sapadin received an urgent call from CPB 
counsel Paul Symczak: the CPB Board had nix- 
ed major portions of the agreement, especially 
the provisions regarding the panel process and 
the one-time set-aside of funds for independent 
production. According to a follow-up letter 
from Program Fund director Ron Hull stating 
the Board's position: 



1) CPB will develop a pool of panelists approved 
by indie producers but will not promise that a 
majority of each panel will be culled from that 
pool. CPB will consider ways to permit panelists 
to review proposals rejected by staff. 

2) CPB reaffirms its commitment to supporting 
minority productions and producers but rejects 
any set-aside of specific amounts for minority 
production. 

3) CPB will allocate a "substantial amount" of 
any FY '84 supplemental appropriation, if re- 
ceived, to independents, but refuses to earmark 
a specific amount. 

4) CPB recognizes that Frontline does not meet 
the criteria of independent production. 

Euphoria quickly turned to anger. In re- 
sponse to the Board's action, the Coalition 
revamped its strategy for the upcoming Con- 
gressional hearings. At the following Monday's 
Senate hearings, Sapadin and West Coast 
representative Lord Ding requested legislative 
action to help independent producers. 

What lay behind the Board's action? "The 
timing of the Board's rejection was such that 
people outside of the whole process could easily 
conclude that the whole thing was a set-up," 
said Sapadin. "But I think the staff — at least 
Symczak and Hull— acted in good faith. I think 
it was a colossal mishandling of their own 
Board." 

The upcoming CPB reauthorization vote in 




Jamake Highwater and The Primal Mind, an identity crisis 
on PBS? 



Congress is not the end of the ride for the Coali- 
tion. CPB did agree to meet with indies three 
times per year, and indie concerns will thus be 
talked out on a periodic basis. But if the present 
impasse continues, indies may also call for over- 
sight hearings in Congress. The Coalition's part- 
ing message to Washington was, "We'll be 
back." 



Highwater Accused of Fraud 

It would seem that Native Americans, whose 
images have been massacred for years on the 
screen, would find some remedy on public 
television. But their presence on the public air- 
waves has been minimal, with the exception of 
efforts by the Native American Public Broad- 
casting Consortium and struggling independent 
producers scattered throughout the country. 

Given this, it's no small wonder that the CPB- 
funded program The Primal Mind, which aired 
on PBS on April 18, has stirred up a strong reac- 
tion from several leading Native American 
groups. At the center of the controversy is the 
enigmatic Jamake Highwater, its host and writ- 
er, and co-owner of The Primal Mind Founda- 
tion, which produced the program. The charge 
from Highwater's critics: his claim of Indian 
ancestry is a fraud, and the fraud is manifested 
in the very content and perspective of The 
Primal Mind. 

On April 19, one day after the broadcast, the 
Survival of American Indians Association 
(SAIA), an Olympia, Washington-based group, 
asked the United States Attorney General's of- 
fice to investigate "the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting's multi-million dollar support for 
individuals who fraudulently represent 
themselves as Indian in order to profit from sub- 
mitting broadcast grants which are categorized 
as minority submissions with appropriate 
minority representation." The group's specific 
focus is Highwater, who has also been promised 
a $600,000 matching grant to produce a six-part 
series Native Land: Saga of the Indian 
Americas. SAIA submitted photographic and 
written documentation which it hopes will prove 
its claims, and cited support from the National 
Congress of American Indians, the National In- 
dian Youth Council, and even the Blackfeet 
tribe — which Highwater has identified as his 
own. 

(When questioned on April 20 about the 
investigation, Highwater, his attorney Jonathan 
Lubell, and CPB had not yet seen the investiga- 
tion request nor the documentation, and would 
not respond directly to it.) 

Highwater's track record is impressive: he has 
written more than 10 books on Indian culture, 
has been featured on Bill Moyers' show Six 
Great Western Ideas and has been active on the 
lecture circuit. Highwater first achieved acclaim 
as a writer, arts critic, theater director and 
choreographer under the name J. Marks. 

According to SAIA's director Hank Adams, 
a former task force chairman of the Congres- 
sional American Indian Policy Review Commis- 
sion, the questions regarding Highwater's 
identity began to surface several years ago when 

JUNE 1964 



THE INDEPENDENT 



he became visible as an Indian "expert and 
scholar." Vine Deloria Jr., the author of Custer 
Died for Your Sins and Behind the Trail of 
Broken Tears, was one of the first to bring him 
to the attention of Indian groups and the press. 
As a result Adams, a long-time investigator of 
Indian claims, and columnist Jack Anderson re- 
searched Highwater's background. In February 
of this year, Anderson published two columns 
which alleged that Highwater lied about his age, 
educational experience and family background. 

Highwater's response to the allegations is that 
they are "simply not true." Immediately after 
Anderson's columns were published, Lubell 
drew up a 21 -point rebuttal. Lubell regards the 
accumulated charges as a personal attack on 
Highwater and asserts, "It's nonsense. A per- 
son's work is to be judged on the value of the 
work itself." 

But the work does, in fact, seem to be in 
dispute. The show's executive producer, Alvin 
H. Perlmutter, says, " The Primal Mind opens 
windows into the minds and culture of Native 
Americans in a way we have not experienced 
before." But Adams criticizes the television pro- 
gram and Highwater's previous book upon 
which it is based, claiming that "virtually 
nothing is drawn from Indian sources. He 
becomes the Indian person who affirms or 
validates the conclusions and assertions of non- 
Indian theoreticians." However, Adams admits 
that there is probably no strong consensus on 
The Primal Mind in the Native American com- 
munity. For instance, the leading Mohawk 
publication Akwasasne Notes has reviewed 
Highwater's work favorably. 

In subsequent months, more information as 
to Highwater's background may come to light. 
Given the scarcity of material by and about 
Native Americans on the screen, each program 
is all the more significant and subject to scrutiny. 
The Primal Mind should be no exception, and 
we hope to follow the controversy closely as the 
truth unfolds. — RT 

Chicano-Mexican 
Connection Grows 

El Nuevo Cine Latino Americano — the New 
Latin American Cinema movement — has 
sprung from theory into practice in the South- 
west. Chicano filmmakers are beginning to tie 
into the Mexican film community with coopera- 
tive production efforts. El Norte is the most visi- 
ble example — director Greg Nava shot on loca- 
tion in Mexico and picked up part of his crew 
there. But the trans-border interaction has been 
percolating for years and may signal an impor- 
tant new potential for minority filmmaking. 

"We consider Chicano cinema a part of the 
international movement in Latin American cine- 
ma, with the Chileans, Mexicans and Cubans, 
for example," explained Jesus Trevino, a Los 
Angeles-based independent producer. "Chi- 
canos sprang from the same social, economic 
and cultural milieu." Latino media artists have 
begun to develop ties with the "homeland," as 
have many of their Asian and Black counter- 
parts (as evidenced by the Black Filmmaker 
JUNE 1984 




Chicano filmmaker Jesus Trevino shot his first feature, Raices de Sangre, in Mexico with help from the Echeverria government. 



Foundation's African tour, the annual Asian 
American International Film Festival and the 
pan-African/diaspora film series sponsored by 
the Black Film Institute, Third World Newsreel 
and others). According to Trevino, a loose net- 
work of Chicano-Mexican filmmakers similarly 
developed through events like the Chicano 
cinema retrospectives at the first Havana Film 
Festival and the Benalmadena Film Festival in 
Spain. 

On a more periodic basis, the San Antonio 
CineFestival programs the works of both Chi- 
cano and Mexican filmmakers (see article in 
festival section). For example, Bay-area film- 
maker Lourdes Portillo, one of the few Chicana 
filmmakers, met Marcela Fernandez Violante, 
one of the few Mexican women filmmakers, at 
CineFestival. "We found we had similar interests 
in terms of feminism, politics, the 
family. . .we're both Mexicans," said Portillio. 
"We developed a great interest in working 
together." 

Actual production ties between Mexican and 
Chicano filmmakers were briefly fostered by the 
former Echeverria government in Mexico. In 
1974, the then-President called on Mexican pro- 
ducers to turn from the churros B-movie form 
and to focus on building a nationalized and 
socially-oriented film industry. Echeverria also 
made overtures to Chicano filmmakers in an ef- 
fort to develop a greater awareness of the 
Chicano experience for Mexican audiences. As a 
result, Trevino was able to produce his first 
feature, Raices de Sangre (Roots of Blood) with 
financing from the Mexican government's Cor- 
poracion Nacional Cinematografica. The film 
depicts the unionization struggle of Mexican 
and Chicano workers in a border town. 

But the subsequent Portillo administration 
balked at government financing, and de- 
emphasized Echeverria's ideals in favor of pri- 
vate enterprise. One result of Portillo's austerity 
program is the radical devaluation of the 
peso — which may be devastating the Mexican 



economy but is a boost to American buyers of 
labor and products. "As a result, it's an in- 
teresting place for independents to look to," 
said Carlos Penichet, who with his brother Jeff 
runs Bilingual Education Services, an indepen- 
dent film production and distribution company 
based in Los Angeles. "There are a lot of dif- 
ferent ways to produce in Mexico; there would 
be different pay scales for a major US studio 
production than for a low-budget independent." 

The possible arrangements an independent 
can work with are: l) to co-produce with the 
state-owned Instituto de Cine Mexicano or 
Direccion de Radio, Television y Cinemato- 
grafia; 2) to work with the film workers' co- 
operatives, in which union members form pro- 
duction units and defer salary or labor for an 
equity position; and 3) work with an indepen- 
dent production company which can offer staff, 
crew and connections. 

Trevino pointed out that, for Chicanos look- 
ing towards Mexico for location work, the 
possibilities are still in the exploratory stage. 
"There are different factors — the budget, the 
nature of the film, the extent of US and Mexican 
involvement. We're still in the process of work- 
ing out these formulas." The Penichets are in 
negotiations to produce a feature comedy, Tepi- 
to II. Trevino and his partner Luis Ruiz are now 
producing two documentaries: Mexico: The Fu- 
ture, a White Paper-type overview of Mexico in- 
ternally, and Neighbors, which explores Mex- 
ico's interface with the US. They are shooting 
on location in both countries and have obtained 
Mexican assistance with crews and coordina- 
tion. 

These initiatives do not yet form a deluge. But 
in viewing a segment on the Guatemala-Mexico 
conflict from Mexico: The Future, I was im- 
pressed with the sensitivity and in-depth 
knowledge with which these Chicano film- 
makers approached the subject of Mexico, espe- 
cially in their depiction of sanctuary given to Gua- 
temalan refugees by Mexican villagers. -\nd l was 



THE INDEPENDENT 




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Haydee Hinojosa as Consuelo in the film Consuelo: 
Quienes Somas? '/Who Are We? 

intrigued by the potential for media on Latin 
America from a Latino perspective — an especial- 
ly important perspective for American audiences 
during these times of heightened conflict in the 
Southern hemisphere. — Renee Tajima 

Spain's New Film Policy 

Although the US film industry claims to be a 
free market operation, it lobbies for, and ob- 
tains, all kinds of legislation to help itself. But 
those working on the fringes of the industry 
haven 't been so successful in bending the law to 
their needs. These days, as the old Hollywood 
remolds itself and exhibition is upended by 
video and satellite technologies reshaping the 
marketplace, there's talk of new sorts of incen- 
tives and protections that will affect more than 
the biggies. It's in the interest of independent 
producers to watch developments in other coun- 
tries which favor small productions, so we'll be 
aware of useful precedents and models when 
our turn comes. — Ed. 

Spain's sweeping new film reform bill — Real 
Decreto sobre Proteccion a la Cinematografia 
Espanola — will greatly alter all sectors of its film 
industry. In particular, the legislation promises 
to stimulate and streamline the production and 
distribution of shorts and features by younger 
and more experimental filmmakers. The bill has 
been approved by the Socialist majority and is 
expected to become law by early summer. 

The decree is the result of many months of 
discussion between the Asociacion de Produc- 
cion Cinematografica (APC), representing 80 
percent of all Spanish productions, and the 
Direccion General de Cinematografia, the Mo- 
tion Picture Division of the Ministry of Culture. 
The objectives? To put the Spanish film industry 
on a firm economic footing by increasing finan- 
cial incentives for investment in production, 
changing the pattern of film distribution to 
favor Spanish language and subtitled films over 
dubbed imports, and encouraging, by means of 
government subsidies and prizes, the entry of 
new filmmakers and projects of "special 
quality." 

In a country where feature budgets fall in the 
$100,000-500,000 range, government advances 
of credit up to 50 percent of production costs 
and bonuses for quality projects can carry a lot 



of weight. According to established formula, 
films budgeted over $350,000 and/or with 
special artistic merit will also be eligible to 
receive funding pegged to the level of box office 
gross after release. The production of short 
films (under 60 minutes) will also profit from 
government assistance under a similar system. 

But the most controversial changes are in pol- 
icies affecting distribution and exhibition. In a 
move that Spanish producer Luis Megino, a 
director of the APC, hailed as "a return to 
freedom of choice for the Spanish viewing pub- 
lic" and which the Motion Picture Export Asso- 
ciation branded as an unfair infringement of 
free market practices, the Ministry of Culture 
opted for regulations which tie issuance of dub- 
bing licenses directly to the successful distribu- 
tion of Spanish films. Thus, whereas Spain is 
currently saturated with Hollywood fare dub- 
bed into Spanish (blockbusters as well as films 
which flopped miserably in their US tryouts), 
the release of dubbed films will henceforth be 
permitted according to strict formulas based on 
the box office success of native Spanish films. 

The new system needn't worry American 
independents looking for outlets in Spain. 
Foreign films shown with original soundtracks 
and Spanish language subtitles are completely 
exempt from any restrictions enforced against 
dubbed films. And Spain remains particularly 
receptive to screening new American works 
through the circuits of the cineclubs and festivals 
like Valladolid, Barcelona, San Sebastian and 
Bilbao. 

The new Spanish law attacks the problem of 
exhibition in theaters — what one Spanish pro- 
ducer called "the tyranny of real time: only 24 
hours a day, 365 days a year to program a movie 
theater." The regulations explicitly require ex- 



PAPER TIGER 
TELEVISION 



SUMMER SCHEDULE 



Every Wednesday at 8:30 pm on Channel C & every 
Thursday at 4:30 pm on Channel D. 

June 6 Patty Zimmerman Reads Variety: 
How to sell your product to Central 
America. 

Patty is a film historian who teaches at 
Ithaca College. 

June 13 To Be Announced 

June 20 Gabor Rittersporn Reads Pravda: 
How to find Izvestia in Pravda. 
Gabor is an editor of Telos. 

June 27 To Be Announced 

July 4 Independence Day Special 



JUNE 1984 



hibitors to play a minimum of one day of Span- 
ish films for every three days of dubbed fare. In 
the major urban markets of Madrid, Barcelona, 
Valencia, Bilbao and Saragossa, this ratio is 
reduced: only two dubs for each Spanish film. 
Spanish rereleases count for less, while 
children's films count more. Short films are also 
affected. Every feature, dubbed or Spanish, 
must carry a short of at least 10 minutes. And 
for every foreign short screened, three Spanish 
shorts must play in the same calendar quarter. 

If the equations sound complex, the intent is 
plain: more screen time for original Spanish 
product and foreign films shown in original ver- 
sions. According to the legislation, "Spanish" 
means any film in Castillian, Catalan, Basque, 
Gallego or other regional languages which also 
meet qualifications for Spanish production parti- 
cipation set forth in the legislation. Films from Lat- 
in American are extended preferential treatment. 

Behind the numbers and the formulas lies the 
determination of the ruling Socialist party, and a 
good many Spanish filmmakers, to reverse the 
economic and political conditions which 
previously suppressed Spanish production. Like 
the end of censorship, which followed Franco's 
death, the end of American cinematic domina- 
tion will also have profound artistic and cultural 
repercussions. In the first place, it signals a con- 
scious recognition of the need to regain the in- 
tegrity of the film medium itself by restoring 
original voices, a key part of the aesthetic whole. 
Producer Magino explained, "In most other 
European countries, the public has the option of 
seeing a film in a dubbed or subtitled version. In 
Spain, we have no choice, because in 1944 Franco, 
in imitation of Mussolini, ordered that all films be 
shown in Spanish. But as we begin to enrich 
ourselves culturally, the public demands the true 
language. We still love American films — good 
American films. But we look forward to hearing 
Gary Cooper's real voice." — Lois Fishmcm 

Lois Fishman is a freelance journalist based in 
Washington, DC who recently traveled to 
Spain. 



Art Com TV 

The San Francisco video exhibition venue La 
Mamelle (run by Carl Loeffler, editor of Art 
Com magazine) has set its sights on a larger au- 
dience. According to its organizers, "Art Com 
Television will deliver to cable viewers in eight 
major markets the best of television art and 
creative investigation into the applications of 
new technologies." The Art Com series is still in 
the research stage and a pilot is currently in 
development. The preliminary launch date is 
scheduled for the fall of 1984 on as-yet un- 
specified pay cable services. According to Anna 
Couey, Art Corn's business manager, the pro- 
gramming will vary, and will include a mixed 
bag of video art, performance and music video. 
Open submissions are now being accepted on 
Vt, " cassettes (include return postage). Contact: 
Carl Loefler, Executive Director, Art Com 
Television, POB 3123 Rincon Annex, San Fran- 
cisco, CA 941 19; (415)431-7524. — RTU 
JUNE 1984 



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VITOACCONCI 
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JOYCE WIELAND 
LIZZIE BORDEN 
ROBERT WILSON 
CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN 
BETH AND SCOTT B 
RITA MYERS 



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HERBERT SCHILLER 
DIETER FROESE 
KAREN COOPER 
KEN FEINGOLD 
MARYLUCIER 
MARGIA KRAMER 



Independently published, without advertising, Afterimage is also the only 
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From Business Tips 
to Film Care 



The Movie Business Book 

Edited by Jason E. Squire. Englewood Cliffs: 
Prentice-Hall, 1983, $13.95. 

Reading The Movie Business Book on a re- 
cent trip to Los Angeles had to be the most em- 
barrassing assignment I've ever had. I mean, 
tooling around Rodeo Drive and trying to hide 
that cover with the flashy five-color stars and 
reels in my glove compartment. (All of you who 
read Photoplay will know what I mean.) The 
Movie Business Book may look like a Holly- 
wood how-to rag but it is actually a solid, prac- 
tical and yes, authoritative guide to the industry 
on everything from creation to book publishing 
rights to foreign tax incentives. 

The Book is an anthology of insider essays 
written by 42 working professionals. While they 
speak almost exclusively from a Hollywood per- 
spective, these experts provide insightful in- 
formation which independents can extrapolate 
to size. The Book is intelligently organized into 
1 1 sections for quick reference. You might call it 
a nice package. No essay in The Book is over 15 
pages long and it's all well- written (but then 
again, my first choice on the Literary Guild list is 
In Search of Excellence). Mel Brooks' piece 
"My Movies: The Collision of Art and Money" 
is a notable exception. 

The anthology offers several chapters which 
may be of interest to independent producers. 
The Book begins with "The Creators" — one of 
its least special aspects. There are any number of 
other treatments on the market of how people 
like producer Robert Evans and director Sydney 
Pollack — two of this section's contributors — 
work and think, and these essays are none too 
revealing. One of the two independent film- 
makers represented in the entire bookjoan 
Micklin Silver, follows with a description of the 
making of Hester Street. She devotes a few 
paragraphs to the trials and tribulations of 
women directors and then states, "Happily, I'm 
married to somebody who wanted to help me 
overcome them," which isn't much inspiration 
for those of us who don't have land developers 
in the family. The other independent here, who 
may be more aptly defined by purists as "a low- 
budget producer," is Russ Meyer {Vixen, 
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Super Vixen and 
Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens). 

The Book really gets down to business with 
"The Property." The section begins with a piece 
by star screenwriter William Goldman who con- 
tributes an example of his screenplay style — a 



three-page run-on sentence which comprises the 
ending to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance 
Kid — which negates all previous how-to- write-a- 
screenplay texts. But the best stuff is the sell- 
ing/buying process for a screenplay as described 
by two literary agents and a Lorimar story 
editor. These nuts-and-bolts analyses on secur- 
ing and contracting with agents, the breakdown 
of various publishing rights and bottom-line 
percentages characterize The Book's subsequent 
and very meaty sections on business. 

In "The Money," the late attorney Norman 
Garey offers an overview of feature film financ- 
ing and packaging from the viewpoint of an 
"entrepreneurial producer." Studio financing is 
one route, but Garey also deals with alternatives 
such as selling off territorial rights, limited part- 
nerships, completion guarantees and negative 
pick-ups. Essays on foreign tax incentives and 
financing and foreign distribution follow. For- 
eign countries have been particularly attractive 
to independents both because of their aesthetic 
receptivity and the tax shelters some nations of- 
fer (the US government terminated ours in 
1976). Production- wise, attorney Gary Conoff 
describes the government-sponsored financial 
inducements to producers who make films in 
Canada, England and Germany, the three ma- 
jor sources of tax incentives and subsisidies. On 
the distribution end of the foreign connection, 
Sylvie Schneble and Tristine Rainer outline 
alternative approaches to overseas handling by 
the majors. These alternatives are sketched in 
convenient point-by-point sections, ranging 
from the mini-majors such as Orion and New 
World to brokerage services and agents. 

Clout is the byword for effective marketing 
and dissemination of product in both domestic 
and foreign markets, as indicated in "The 
Distributors." In this aspect of the business, the 
independent producer may be at the greatest dis- 
advantage. Distribution is further and further 
removed from the moments of creation, and an 
adequately capitalized organization and con- 
sistency matter the most. Perhaps the most 
useful essay here is Raphael Silver's description 
of the selling of Hester Street. He discusses the 
critical positioning of Hester Street as a vehicle 
of broad interest rather than a "small" Jewish 
film, as well as practical cautions on leveraging 
decent exhibition deals and compliance from a 
small independent distributor. 

In "The Exhibitors," we get to hear the other 
side of the story, as theater owners bemoan the 
high costs of maintaining a screen. Richard May 
of Twentieth Century-Fox provides a sample ex- 

JUNE 19S4 



THE INDEPENDENT 




Have it delivered to you in a brown paper wrapper but be 
sure to read The Movie Business Book if you're going for 
the big one. 

hibition contract, and there is even an analysis 
of popcorn and concessions sales. Independents 
may want to pay close attention to the short 
essay by Robert Laemmle, an independent ex- 
hibitor and co-owner of Laemmle Fine Arts 
Theatres in Los Angeles, which are likely venues 
for their films. 

Those of you who don't curl up to light 
reading with Fortune, as I do, may find The 
Movie Business Book somewhat intimidating or 
boring, with all its talk of guild contacts, options 
and percentages after grosses. But with inde- 
pendence comes the absence of the various sup- 
port structures and people which a studio-based 
producer can depend on. Sans the benefit of a 
business affairs office, high-priced lawyers, 
et.al., the independent should at least be fami- 
liar with the various concerns which will un- 
doubtedly arise when dealing with the theatrical 
film world. The Movie Business Book is a good 
primer and a good overview which won't get 
you bogged down in too many details. As Mel 
Brooks concludes his essay on the business of 
producing and directing, "What's the toughest 
thing about making films? Putting in the little 
holes." — Renee Tajima 

Talking Back 

Edited by Michael Singsen. San Francisco: The 
Public Media Center, 1983, $12. 

When President Reagan interceded during 
the latest tussle between Hollywood and the net- 
works (a.k.a. the Wingtips vs. the Guccis) over 
the financial interest and syndication rules, it 
was hard to tell who was running the nominally 
independent FCC. When the Commission's chair- 
man, Mark Fowler, occasionally runs afoul of 
the prez it is because he is, if anything, 
ideologically in line with Administration 
policy — that is, committed to deregulation 
with a vengeance. But when Reagan is not in- 
terceding on behalf of old Hollywood friends, 
he and his appointee are quite compatible. One 
bit of deregulation for which neither would shed 
even a crocodile tear is the elimination of the 
Fairness Doctrine, the very centerpiece of 
JUNE 1984 



broadcast regulation in this country. The doc- 
trine requires that broadcasters devote air time 
with balance to issues of public importance, af- 
fording an opportunity for airing all significant 
positions on the particular issue. 

This beleaguered doctrine is the object of 
yearly legislative assaults championed by the 
National Association of Broadcasters, an in- 
dustry group that sorely needs a rallying cry for 
its increasingly fractious membership. Because 
the Fairness Doctrine was incorporated into the 
Communications Act of 1934, its elimination 
would require action by Congress, where for- 
tunately it has several key supporters. Unfor- 
tunately, though, the FCC has the authori- 
ty — and the inclination — to modify the doctrine 
to a point of irrelevance. So, short of turning 
out the current regime, we (the public) need to 
learn to exercise our broadcast rights which, like 
muscles, atrophy with inactivity. To this end the 
San Francisco-based Public Media Center has 
recently released a first-rate guide to Talking 
Back for people who are mad as hell and aren't 
going to take it anymore. 

The book's first section traces the legislative 
and judicial evolution of the Fairness Doctrine. 
When a broadcaster receives a license (a federal- 
ly protected monopoly on a particular portion 
of the public's airwaves), he acts as a "trustee" 
and entails certain obligations, principally the 
Fairness Doctrine. The first part of the doc- 
trine — the coverage requirement, which the 
FCC has said is the most "basic art" — is in fact 
weaker than the balance requirement. This is 
because the FCC, through its rulings, has 
created a disincentive for broadcasters to pro- 
vide coverage of controversial issues by pro- 
viding no guidelines as to what is "a reasonable 
amount of time," nor even what is a "con- 
troversial issue of public importance." The 
book cites other FCC enforcement rulings, ma- 
jor legal challenges and subsequent modifica- 
tions, providing the reader with a solid ground- 
ing in the principles and decisional criteria that 
are still active and bringing us up to date on the 
rather emasculated state of the doctrine today. 

Concisely written in an ironic tone, this is 
essentially a how-to guide — but one with a dif- 
ference. Not only is it an invaluable tool for 
those inclined to exercise their rights in broad- 
casting; it also actively cajoles groups to use 
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fairness complaint and delineate how to go 
about gathering the necessary information to 
make your case. Given the relative heterogeneity 
(believe it or not) of station managements, the 
specificity of fairness complaints and the numer- 



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ous gray areas, some legal advice may be neces- 
sary. The vast majority of complaints, though, 
are settled at the local level with a phone call or 
two. The basic approach to stations, need we be 
reminded, should be cooperative. No specific 
individual or group has the right to demand a 
place on the broadcast schedule. You do, 
however, have the right to expect that the 
coverage of "your" issue will be balanced. By 
helping the station be more balanced you are 
also helping yourself. "To convince a station 
that you are going to be helpful (not overly 
demanding or confrontational)," the authors 
write, "you'll need to be clear, direct, and 
reliable — in other words, professional . . . Your 
broadcast rights are powerful levers. The secret 
(if there is one) is to seek a relationship with your 
local station in which you never need to threaten 
to throw the lever, file formal complaints, and 
end up talking through lawyers." Additional 
sections detail bargaining strategies to get time 
that will have an impact similar to those view- 
points which you are trying to balance, as well as 
those to be employed with the FCC when deal- 
ing with a recalcitrant licensee. 

Another chapter is devoted to flexing broad- 
cast rights during initiative campaigns where 
corporate media expenditures invariably swamp 
public interest/grassroots monies, sometimes by 
ratios as large as 100-to-l. With a minimum in- 
vestment of staff and resources, the authors 
contend, local organizations can amplify their 
voices far beyond their limited economic means. 
Finally, in addition to appendices that list 
various activist resources and exhibit models of 
actual correspondence, there is a fascinating 
compilation of case history condensations. 

Perhaps more important than specifics, this 
book enables one to become generally ac- 
quainted with broadcast rights (there are others 
besides the Fairness Doctrine), and to learn to 
exercise them regularly. With the further 
corporatization of America, it is only through 
developing wider and deeper legislative support 
for these public rights that we can expect to 
counteract what has been a steadily mounting 
assault against the First Amendment in this 
realm. As the rules restricting media cross- 
ownership dissolve (brace yourself for the spate 
of mergers in the communications industry 
when the "rule of 7s" — which restricts the 
number of stations a broadcast entity can 
own — is scotched, as Fowler soon intends), it is 
is not surprising that print titans like the New 
York Times (which is now in the cable biz) are 
now more vocal in advocating abolition of the 
Fairness Doctrine and other governmental safe- 
guards of the public's First Amendment rights. 
They marshall self-serving arguments, claiming 
their First Amendment rights are seriously in- 
fringed upon by these minimal regulations. As a 
recent Channels magazine article points out, the 
Fairness Doctrine barely exists nowadays be- 
cause the discretionary latitude of the FCC al- 
lows it to wriggle out of ruling on complaints. 
Enforcement may change with a new adminis- 
tration, but the fact that these public interest 
measures are on the books does keep many 
broadcasters in line. We should do our share to 



ensure that they meet their responsibilities to us. 
After all, the authors note, "at stake is the suc- 
cess of the democratic experiment." — Ken Stier 



can cable put the 
vision back in tv? 




10 



Beck's book asks if the TV wasteland can be cultivated. 

Cultivating the Wasteland 

By Kirsten Beck. New York: American Council 
for the Arts and Volunteer Lawyers for the A rts, 
1983, $14.95. 

Cultivating the Wasteland addresses the issue 
of arts programming on cable television — its 
rocky history and uncertain future. Along the 
way it raises questions about the direction of 
cable TV's development in America and the 
future of the arts — especially the performing 
arts — in an age of unparalleled technological ad- 
vancement. Unfortunately, the book does not 
answer the question emblazoned on its cover : 
"Can cable put the vision back in TV?" 

If readers can traverse these ill-organized 
pages without letting their minds wander to 
what's on MTV, they will get a generalized pic- 
ture of the history of the cable industry, the 
development of standards and policies which 
govern it, and early attempts to launch viable 
cultural programming on various national cable 
systems — always, it seems, foiled by the slug- 
gishness of the advertising industry to accept the 
concept of narrowcasting as a lucrative ap- 
proach to reaching the upscale audience. There 
is a discussion of the feasibility of advertising- 
supported cable and, for those with a penchant 
for corporate gossip, the inside story of the 
already over-reported CBS Cable debacle. 

It takes 157 pages for author Kirsten Beck, a 
media consultant for such recent cable initiates 
as the City of New Haven, to clearly state the 
astonishing conclusion of her research: the 
future of cultural programming on cable TV lies 
not in the giant cultural services like the ill-fated 
CBS or modestly successful ARTS attempts, but 
in local origination and public access where 
there is room for experimentation and not so 

JUNE 1084 



THE INDEPENDENT 



much money at stake. In the subsequent maze 
of tedious anecdotes which describe the experi- 
ences of various arts organizations as they 
entered the world of cable TV at the local level, 
Beck pops up now and again to suggest that our 
nation's visual artists, theaters, orchestras and 
ballets get in on the local franchising process at 
the beginning, as soon as cable's inevitable arri- 
val seems imminent in their communities. 

Those who have been watching the develop- 
ments in Congress and the FCC concerning 
public access requirements and the municipal 
cable franchise will doubtless find Wasteland's 
starry-eyed optimism about a flowering of 
cultural television somewhat premature if not 
naive. Moreover, Beck's own description of the 
human and financial resources required to ac- 
complish the navigation of the franchising proc- 
ess leads one to wonder how any but the most 
well-staffed, well-funded cultural institutions 
can afford to approach the cable medium on 
any level at all and continue to fulfill their 
original purpose of creating art. 

The least successful part of Cultivating the 
Wasteland is the chapter devoted to a discussion 
of the transformation of performance from one 
medium (such as opera or theater) to television. 
Unlike Beck, every performing artist and arts 
administrator worth his or her salt knows the 
importance of such necessities as comfortable 
working conditions and sufficient, well-planned 
rehearsal time for producing a successful per- 
formance in any medium. There is also more to 
translating live performance to the screen than 
"making it smaller." However, Beck's view of 
"the arts" does not seem to include media art- 
ists, and her only mention of independent film 
and videomakers is a reference to a mucked-up 
filming of a Guthrie Theatre production for 
cable by an independent. The role media artists 
are playing in creating and translating the per- 
formance for the small screen is ignored. 

Arts organizations will find the most valuable 
information in the book in an additional section 
compiled by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. 
"Copyright Fundamentals," "Elements of 
Deal-Making" and "The Concept of Negotia- 
tion" by R. Bruce Rich, Richard J. Lorber and 
Timothy J. DeBaets respectively contain useful 
material for anyone considering a plunge into 
television production. There is a also a bibliog- 
raphy and an index of organizations and asso- 
ciations interested in the direction of cable 
policy. 

Cultivating the Wasteland is of interest as a 
simply stated compendium of major polarities 
and issues that have grown up around the "cable 
explosion." It is somewhat useful as a history 
and explanation of the often confusing develop- 
ments that have shaped the cable industry. But 
as an insightful analysis of the role of cultural 
cable — or any kind of cable, for that matter — in 
"putting the vision back in TV," it falls far 
short. In the book's title chapter the author 
states, "The real promise of cable TV for the 
arts at the local level will be fulfilled only when 
artists and arts organizations shake free of 
broadcast television's values and treat cable as a 
'blank canvas.'" However, all of the evidence 

JUNE 1084 



presented in the rest of the text utterly con- 
tradicts the possibility that such a promise exists. 
To put vision into an entity which has lost it 
implies new direction, creative strategy, in- 
novative action. Cultivating the Wasteland sug- 
gests nothing new, nothing creative or experimen- 
tal for dealing with cable television today. The real 
message to artists is a familiar one: once again the 
arts must pioneer in the wasteland, and the terrain 
is barren indeed . — Mary Guzzy 

The ASC Treasury 
of Visual Effects 

Edited by George E. Turner, with Linwood G. 
Dunn. Hollywood: American Society of Cine- 
matographers Holding Co., 1983, $29.95. 

When the great German cinematographer Karl 
Freund {The Last Laugh, Metropolis) ma- 
triculated to Hollywood in 1929, he was amazed, 
and not a little disconcerted, to learn that special 
visual effects — glass shots, miniatures, in-camera 
mattes, stop motion — were assigned to special- 
ists. At the vast UFA studio in Berlin, Freund, in 
the slow, deliberate manner of an Old World 
craftsman, had mastered both silent live action 
and "trick" photography. But the classic days of 
the protean silent cameraman were drawing to a 
close. The brash studios of Hollywood, with the 
Depression closing in, sought new economies in 
production. When the requirements of the newly- 
created sound stage put a fresh premium on 
location-saving artifice, they built whole studio 
departments around those who chose to spe- 
cialize in photographing pure invention. 

In this collection of vintage American Cinema- 
tographer reprints and original articles, we meet 
not the celebrated Karl Freunds, Gregg Tolands 
and James Wong Howes of this pivotal period, 
but their counterparts behind the high-speed pro- 
cess cameras and optical printers. From its well- 
illustrated pages, names such as Linwood Dunn, 
John Fulton, Donald Jahrous and Farciot Ed- 
uouart — whose artfully faked visual effects are 
seamlessly woven into the fabric of almost every 
American film of the '30s and '40s — duly emerge 
from the anonymity of the big studio. 

The first-rate introduction, "The Evolution of 
Special Visual Effects" by editor George Turner, 
provides a necessary overview. From what was 
probably the very first special effect — the head of 
Mary, Queen of Scots, flying from the chopping 
block in an 1895 Edison Kinetoscope "historic 
dramatization" — to the latest modon control feat 
of George Lucas, Turner supplies names, dates, 
tides. He acknowledges George Melies, Robert 
Paul, Edwin S. Porter, C. Dodge Dunning, Eu- 
gen Schufftan; notes early contributions of the 
British, German, and even Australian film in- 
dustries; describes background projection, op- 
tical printing, the initial motion control attempts; 
and in so doing completes the historical frame- 
work for what is to follow. 

What follows, and what is most remarkable 
about this volume, is that these men tell their own 
stories: all but two of the 25 contributions were 
authored by effects experts themselves. Many of 
these veteran cinematographers shared their 



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youth with the industry's — cinema has yet to 
mark its first centenary — and were its original in- 
novators. This, then, is more than a technical 
textbook or how-to manual. It is cinema history 
in the first person: authoritative, anecdotal and 
enlightening. 

Clarence Slifer, for example, "lived with Gone 
with the Wind almost 16 hours a day for 11 
months," photographing more than 100 matte 
paintings. He recalls with some pride the 
challenging novelty of blending matte paintings 
with live action through the Technicolor three- 
strip process, with its lab logistics — and concomi- 
tant anxiety levels — in triplicate. (These were the 
days when "nothing was duped, and we worked 
only on the original negative.") Likewise, Lin- 
wood Dunn describes with almost parental 
delight the homemade optical printer he operated 
at RKO in 1934. Dunn's jazzy wipes and "turn- 
over" transitional effects in films such as Flying 
Down to Rio and Citizen Kane enriched the 
grammar of film and, as the biography preceding 
his article notes, "appeared in almost every RKO 
picture during a 25-year span [and] became a 
trademark of the distinctive RKO style." 

For those so inclined, there are technical tips to 
be gleaned. Albert Whitlock, whose matte paint- 
ing technique suggests French Impressionism, ob- 
tains the original photography's timing lights 
from the lab. If the original is "a little low in ex- 
posure — which can happen — then the painting 
should be a little on the low side, so it will still 
have the same look." And Don Jahrous shares 
the secret of shooting miniatures: "A peculiar 
feature of miniatures is that, despite this need for 
detail, the scene must be both lighted and photo- 
graphed softly. The inexperienced cinematog- 
rapher will almost inevitably photograph his 
scenes too crisply, which will destroy completely 
the desired illusion of naturalness." 

In addition to miniatures, matte paintings and 
optical effects, Treasury of Visual Effects ex- 
plores the history and practice of rear and front 
screen projection, and blue and sodium screen 
compositing processes. Anyone confused as to 
the exact nature of the blue screen process (and 
this includes practically everyone) will appreciate 
L.B. Abbott's concise explanation and diagrams. 
What won't be found in Treasury are discussions 
of pyrotechnics, firearms, breakaway props and 
the like. (If that's your interest, a better place to 
begin might be Special Effects in Motion Pic- 
tures, published by the Society of Motion Picture 
and Television Engineers.) 

That today's special visual effects serve mostly 
science fiction themes is evidenced by the final 
selections: "Mechanical Effects for Logan's 
Run," "Photographic Effects for The Empire 
Strikes Back" and "Electronic and Animation 
Effects for Tron." But during the '30's and '40's, 
the use of visual effects techniques to simulate fa- 
miliar locales was mainstream. The microphones 
available in the '30's required the elimination of 
location background noise; therefore, studio 
rear-screen projection, which also eliminated the 
background, was common. (Kodak even intro- 
duced a special film for this purpose, super fine- 
grain Eastman Background Negative, in 1933.) 
As the war broke out and the coastal areas were 




A frame from Lotte Reiniger's 1926 film, Adventures of 
Prince Achmed, from the ASC Treasury of Visual Effects. 

declared combat zones in which photography was 
prohibited, these techniques took on even more 
significance. In the '50's and '60's, however, the 
same march of technology that engendered visual 
effects techniques doomed them to disuse. Im- 
proved microphones, portable magnetic tape 
recorders and portable blimped cameras made 
location work appealing once again. 

Today, the simple techniques that Karl Freund 
enjoyed in the '20's produce results that are not so 
much believable as fun. The use of these tech- 
niques doesn't save time or money, but anyone 
on any budget can experiment with them. More 
complex techniques requiring rear-screen projec- 
tion, blue screen matting, or extensive optical 
printing are best left to Hollywood — unless you 
have a Hollywood-sized budget. In any case, to 
limit special effects to science fiction is to limit the 
imagination. 

Two short concluding remarks. First, there are 
no women in this book. Or almost none. Turner's 
intro mentions Lotte Reiniger, a German woman 
animating Indonesian-style shadow puppet plays 
in the early '20's. And there's a photo of Deena 
Burkett, scene coordinator, examinating a Tron 
kodalith. In between, a sort of boy-with-erector- 
set tone prevails. Were there no female effects ex- 
perts in Hollywood? 

Second, it should be obvious from the photo- 
graph accompanying the Superman article that the 
miniature helicopter is plummeting not down the 
face of the "Citibank Building," but rather of the 
Daily News Building, a late deco New York land- 
mark designed by Raymond Hood, which in no 
way resembles the silver-skinned CitiCorp Building. 
Let's get our miniatures straight! — David Leitner 

Eastman Professional 
Motion Picture Films 

Rochester: Eastman Kodak Co., 1982J9.95. 

The Book of Film Care 

Rochester: Eastman Kodak Co., 1983, $12.95. 

Kodak can mean more than a yellow box or a 
round can, as these concise, well-written books 
attest. 

Eastman Professional Motion Picture Films 
(Publication H-l) is not, despite its uninspired 
title, a catalogue of Kodak products. It's a vastly 
improved, enlarged and updated version of the 
more aptly titled 1972 Selection and Use of 
Kodak and Eastman Motion Picture Films. 
Wider in scope than the original, it's simply the 
most accessible, most authoritative primer on 
the subject of film stock technology today. 

The book lists current Kodak films and their 

JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



applications (although recent camera negatives 
7291, 7284, 5294, and low contrast print stock 
7380/5380 are missing). However, much of the 
text concerns the behavior and physical char- 
acteristics of film in general. Using the "data 
sheet" that Kodak openly publishes for each 
stock, Publication H-l explores basic technical 
specifications such as spectral sensitivity, the 
characteristic curve, the modulation transfer 
curve, RMS granularity, resolving power. These 
seemingly arcane concepts, when carefully and 
clearly explained, actually become useful. The 
question of which film stock is sharper can be 
readily answered by comparing data sheets — a 
cheaper, faster, less frustrating endeavor than 
filming a possibly inconclusive test. 

After a description of perforations and a table 
listing latent edge designations for various stock 
types, H-l features a short section devoted to 
color reproduction, filtration and light balanc- 
ing. Anyone who's ever wondered why a blue 
morning glory reproduces on film as violet will 
find the answer here. Included is a brief but solid 
introduction to color temperature which takes 
ndte of the limits of color temperature measure- 
ment. (You'll learn, by the way, that "mireds" 
are now to be called "reciprocal megakelvins.") 

The last section of H-l is ambitiously titled 
"Dealing with a Laboratory." There's a labyrin- 
thine flow chart that King Minos would be 
proud of, detailing the tortuous, often tangled 
path a production takes through the laboratory. 
It's on the mark, though. There are also film re- 
production flow charts, displaying the various 
steps and options in deriving release prints from 
camera original. Lastly, processing and printing 
techniques are examined in detail. 

Where Motion Picture Films leaves off, The 
Book of Film Care (Publication H-23) takes 
over. Anyone who handles film after it becomes 
Film is obliged to know this book. With some 
wit, Film Care notes that the word "film" is 
descended from an Old English word for skin, 
and that, like skin, film can be scratched, 
blistered by chemicals or heat, damaged by pro- 
longed exposure to the sun, grow dry and brittle 
in the cold, be infected by fungus in hot humidi- 
ty, and bum. It poses the question, "We spend 
billions on skin care each year and know much 
about it. Why not consider film the same way?" 

Kodak is not the problem here. There's been a 
lot of ruckus over the past five years concerning 
color fading and nitrate disintegration — as well 
there might be. But in a modest yet detailed 1957 
brochure, Storage and Preservation of Motion 
Picture Film — the direct predecessor of Film 
Care — Kodak, with explicit photographs, de- 
picted both the volatility of nitrate-based stock 
and the rank danger in storing it. They even 
went so far as to publish "a suggested design for 
an air-conditioned six-hour fire-resistive vault 
for archival storage of safety motion picture 
film." Perhaps if the Mexican Cineteca Na- 
tional had heeded this timely yet timeless warn- 
ing (the same photos and vault plans are 
reproduced a quarter century later in Film 
Care), the recent near-total loss of Mexico's na- 
tional cinema heritage to fire could have been 
avoided. 

JUNE 1984 



Also from 1957: "All organic dyes, whether 
used in color films, paper or textiles, do gradual- 
ly fade. . .For this reason, the American Stan- 
dard for permanent record films specifically ex- 
cludes the use of dye images for this purpose." 
There never was any claim to color per- 
manence — or any other type of permanence, for 
that matter. That's why Scorsese's celebrated 
cry and hue several years ago was ill-informed 
and misdirected. Instead of suggesting mal- 
feasance on the part of Kodak, or any other film 
manufacturer, he should have fingered the com- 
mercial film industry, which consciously opted 
for blissful ignorance when it came to the sub- 
ject of costly, non-income producing film 
preservation measures. (Home video-era foot- 
note: with MGM/UA's film library recently 
valuated at $733 million, Disney's at $500 
million, and so on, Hollywood is vigorously 
championing the new-found cause.) 

The Book of Film Care is Kodak's latest at- 
tempt to spread the word concerning the well- 
being of the product it invented almost a century 
ago. And a handsome, well-organized effort it 
is. This time, for instance, there is a reader's 
directory, which points individuals with specific 
needs to the pertinent chapters and appendices. 
The guide suggests specific chapters of interest 
for such categories as film archivists, projec- 
tionists, film professors, film lab owners and 
theater managers. And, it adds, "If you are a 
film buff, read the whole book; you'll love it!" 

After an inspired chapter extolling film's hist- 
ory and legacy, Film Care describes film's com- 
positional and mechanical properties. These are 
related to such conditions of storage and preser- 
vation as humidity, temperature and air 



purification. While the technical detail is 
necessarily dry, it's presented graphically, and 
the text is lively and informative. Dye stability 
merits its own chapter, as does the handling and 
maintenance of processed film. The latter in- 
cludes the most incisive introduction to film 
splicing I've ever come across (a must for begin- 
ning film students!), as well as an an instructive 
series of photos sadly showcasing the exotic- 
sounding maladies that inflict poorly wound, 
stored and projected film: buckle, fluting, twist, 
curl, spoking, embossing. 

Other sections cover film damage evaluation; 
film cleaning methods; theatrical projection, 
with proper emphasis on sprocket wear and 
screen luminance; and the companion topics of 
film rejuvenation and restoration. These last 
two chapters feature an up-to-date listing of in- 
dividuals and companies across the US and 
Canada that specialize in film rejuvenation 
and/or restoration. I believe this is the first time 
such a list has been drawn. 

The useful appendix reproduces a 1 3-page In- 
ternational Standards Organization document — 
approved in 1975 by the US, Canada, USSR, 
various European countries and Japan — 
which standardizes the use of black-and-white 
only for archival purposes. For color, this spells 
red, green, and blue separation positives, a la 
Technicolor. The appendix also lists the 53 
members and observers of the International Fed- 
eration of Film Archives, and 83 international mo- 
tion picture periodicals. If you wish, you can 
subscribe to Sovetskii Film in English, Foto-Kino 
Revija in Serbo-Croatian, or for $2.60 a quarter, 
China's Screen, possibly in English. Write Box 
399, Peking, to be sure. — DL ■ 



Summary of AIVF Minutes 



The AIVF/FIVF Boards met on 4/18/84. 
Present: Pearl Bowser, Matt Clarke, Bill 
Greaves, Lillian Jimenez, Mary Lucier, 
Robert Richter, Tom Turley, Larry Sapadin; 
AIVF staffers Marry Guzzy and Renee Ta- 
jima; AIVF member Robert Spencer. Ab- 
sent: Loni Ding, Peter Kinoy, Denise Oliver, 
Richard Schmiechen. 

Renee Tajima discussed controversy over 
an Independent Media Clip critical of the 
National Black Programming Consortium. 
It was agreed that Mabel Haddock, executive 
director of NBPC, should write a letter to the 
editor, which could be published with an ac- 
companying editorial reply. 

Sapadin reported on negotiations between 
the ad hoc producers Coalition and the Cor- 
poration for Public Broadcasting. Currently, 
the lobbying effort is back in full force due to 
CPB Board's rejection of the agreement be- 
tween the Coalition and CPB's legal depart- 
ment. The likely outcome is Congressional 
Report language accompanying CPB's fund- 
ing bill addressing independent's concerns 
with a view towards Congressional oversight 
hearings if improvements are not made. 
Outreach to media groups not directly in- 



volved in the negotiations was proposed. 

Sapadin reported that the original 
negotiating group had been asked to submit 
names for the CPB peer panel pool, and asked 
for suggestions from the board. 

An informal agenda for the April 19 mem- 
bership meeting, including the nomination 
of new board members, was set. Six places 
are up for reelection. Turley, Clarke and 
Oliver will not seek reelection. Jimenez, 
Richter and Greaves will run again. 

It was moved that a committee explore the 
fundraising and media possibilities for the 
10th Anniversary Event. The board commit- 
tee members are Richter, Bowser, Clarke 
and Jimenez. 

Due to the increased cost of flying in out- 
of-town board members, it was suggested 
that fewer full board meetings and more ex- 
ecutive committee meetings be held. Staff 
reports presented in advance of full board 
meetings and more membership participa- 
tion in AIVF committees were proposed. 

A need for board leadership of the 
organization was raised by Renee Tajima. 

Date of the next board meeting was not 
set; please call AIVF for details. ■ 



13 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Financial Set-Ups: 
For-Profit 



What you should and shouldn't do when you go the for-profit route. 



Last month, in Part I of this article, we 
followed the fame and fortune of Wheeler 
Dealer as he heroically strove to finance his in- 
dependent production through the not-for- 
profit route. Suppose, though, that Wheeler has 
a project in hand that he knows, deep in his 
heart, could be another Halloween, or at least 
another Smithereens. It's that gem of gems, a 
low-budget independent production that could 
make money. And besides the fact that 
Wheeler's subject is potentially commercial, he 
would prefer to personally reap the benefits of 
his efforts, rather than reinvest the profits in 
another not-for-profit project. 

Manuel Arce, the producer of The Crossover 
Dream, thinks that he has a film with commer- 
cial potential. The Crossover Dream is about the 
rise and fall of a young "Nuyorican" salsa singer 
who tries to break into the American record in- 
dustry, only to find that his roots still haunt him. 
Arce was aware that "a film like ours is not in 
the American mainstream: it's about a subcul- 
ture." NeverthJess, he felt that "people are 
becoming more aware of the Spanish market" 
and, therefore, thought the film could be fund- 
ed through private investment. The Crossover 
Dream is an example of a for-profit film which 
could probably have also been funded as a not- 
for-profit project if its creators had been willing 
to make certain changes in focus and style. 

The initial step in the for-profit fundraising 
process is to set up a for-profit corporation 
whose purpose is to produce a feature-length 
film. Incorporating as a for-profit corporation is 
not much more difficult than incorporating as a 
not-for-profit corporation. However, the legal 
work involved in offering shares in the film to 
private investors is infinitely more complicated 
and expensive. 

SELLING SHARES & DISCLOSING RISKS 

Once private investors are involved, the 
Securities and Exchange Commission steps into 
the picture. The securities regulations are de- 
signed to protect the public against smooth 
operators who want to sell shares in scenic 
swamplands or dry oil wells to unwary investors. 

Author's note: This article is presented only for 
the purposes of educating the independent film- 
maker in some basic legal principles. It is not to be 
taken as legal advice. Every financing situation is 
different, the law constantly changes, and the laws 
in each state can vary widely. The independent film- 
maker should, therefore, always consult his or her 
attorney before undertaking any course that may 
have legal ramifications. 



Paula R. Schaap 

People who sell investment shares — and this in- 
cludes selling shares in the profits of a 
film — must comply with both federal and state 
securities regulations. These regulations require 
that there be full disclosure of all the risks that 
are involved in the investment. Disclosure is 
made through a legal document called an offer- 
ing memorandum. 

When a public corporation, such as AT&T or 
Columbia Pictures, places its shares on the 
market, it must file elaborate financial state- 
ments with the SEC in addition to the offering 
memorandum. For shares that are not being of- 
fered to the general public, however, the offeror 
can be exempted from the filing requirements if 
he complies with certain guidelines. 

The most important thing for Wheeler to 
know about an exempt offering (also known as 
a private placement or a Regulation D offering) 
is that he can sell shares in the film to only a 
limited number of investors. For simplicity's 
sake, we shall say that the limit is 35 investors. 
Some types of investors, however, will not be in- 
cluded in the 35-person limit. These include, for 
example, financial institutions and extremely 
wealthy individuals, perhaps because the SEC 
assumes that they can more readily cover poten- 
tial losses. 

Furthermore, Wheeler cannot raise a portion 
of the money through an offering to 35 in- 
vestors, and, a few months later when that 
money is gone, make an offering to another 35 
investors. The 35-investor limit applies to the en- 
tire film project, not to parts of it. 

Producer Phillip Kozma ran into this prob- 
lem when he was trying to raise money for 
Breach of Contract, a film about the problems 
that plague a young professional couple who 
face a career vs. family conflict. Kozma raised 
the initial budget of $750,000 through a private 
offering, but the film went over budget. Once 
the private placement money was spent, his 
hands were legally tied. Luckily, one of his in- 
itial investors agreed to loan Kozma the money 
to complete the film. 

Because of these legal limitations, Wheeler 
would be well-advised to assess his investor pool 
with a cool and dispassionate eye. He should ask 
himself if he has access to a few very wealthy in- 
vestors, or if his less wealthy investors can invest 
enough money to keep him safely within the 
35-person limit. (It is also important to note that 
while all of his investors do not have to be oil 
barons, Wheeler must not take advantage of 
people who are inexperienced in business or who 
do not have the economic wherewithal to lose 



large sums of money.) Now is the time for 
Wheeler to stop kicking wealthy old Aunt Peg's 
pedigreed chihuahua, or to listen attentively 
when Seymour, his father's boyhood chum who 
cashed in during the recent stock rally, launches 
into his patented "I know what's wrong with 
America today" speech. 

There are two main legal documents that 
must be prepared for a private offering: first, 
the offering memorandum and second, the lim- 
ited partnership agreement. 

OFFERING MEMORANDUM 

The SEC requires that an investor in 
Wheeler's film be fully warned that he will prob- 
ably lose his money. Filmmaking is a very high 
risk business, often compared to wildcat oil 
drilling. Given the competitiveness of the film 
industry and the difficulties that are often en- 
countered during production and postproduc- 
tion, it is impossible for Wheeler to guarantee 
his investors any return on their investment. 

According to Robert Nowotny, who is cur- 
rently in the process of raising money for a film, 
a producer can try to offset some of the risks. 
Nowotny has the rights to Tramp Star, an 
original fiction screenplay. In Tramp Star, a 
Texas town is seized by "comet fever" when 
Haley's Comet passes by the earth in 1910. 
"You need to be aligned with people who are 
known in the industry, people who have major 
film experience," Nowotny said. "It's not easy, 
but if you have a good project, you can do it. 
Then it's easier to go to your investors." 

In addition to trying to recruit well-known 
talent and an experienced production crew, 
Wheeler should obtain a completion bond. The 
corporation or individual who puts up the com- 
pletion bond guarantees that the film will be 
completed. Unfortunately, the bond is a signifi- 
cant added expense, and Wheeler may lose con- 
trol over the end product if the completion com- 
pany has to step in. It will be difficult to sell in- 
vestors on the project, however, if there is no 
completion bond. 

Prior to 1977, films could be sold as tax 
shelters by a device called "leverage." Leverage 
meant that the individual investors would put up 
a percentage of the budget, say, 40 percent, and 
the remaining 60 percent would be borrowed 
from a bank, with the proceeds from the film as 
collateral. If the film lost money, the individual 
investors could take a loss deduction not only 
for the amount they personally invested, but 
also for the amount that was provided by the 

JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



bank. Wealthy investors could use their enhanc- 
ed loss deduction to offset income from other 
sources. 

Unfortunately, Congress called a halt to the 
practice of leverage in 1976. Today, an investor 
can only take a loss deduction for those sums for 
which he is personally at risk. While there are 
still some tax advantages to investing in a 
film — for example, investors can take a tax 
credit in the yei\r the film is released — a film 
should not be presented as a tax shelter situation 
to potential investors. 

The offering memorandum sets forth all the 
risks and tax ramifications of investing in a film. 
It is a long, complicated document that must be 
in compliance with federal and state securities 
regulations. This is one instance where it is im- 
perative to have a lawyer. The lawyer should 
have a background in securities and tax law, and 
preferably have experience in offerings for 
films. Even if Wheeler is prepared to do the 
necessary research and draft an offering mem- 
orandum, a lawyer must be called in to check the 
form. Some lawyers may be willing to defer part 
of their fee, or take a percentage of the profits in 
lieu of the fee. As with other preproduction ex- 
penses, the lawyer's fees should be included in 
the film's budget. 

Every investor in the film must be furnished 
with a copy of the offering memorandum and 
the limited partnership agreement before he in- 
vests. If Wheeler has promotional literature for 
the investors, it should also be reviewed by his 
attorney to ensure that nothing will mislead the 
investors. 



LIMITED PARTNERSHIP 

The second part of the offering materials is 
the limited partnership agreement. This is the 
most common organizational form used for of- 
fering shares in a film. A limited partnership 
consists of a general partner, who manages the 
day-to-day business of the partnership, and the 
limited partners, who are the investors. The lim- 
ited partners have no say over normal business 
decisions. The advantage of this kind of ar- 
rangement is that the limited partners are pro- 
tected from liability in the same way as cor- 
porate shareholders are protected. In addition, 
any tax gains, losses, deductions or credits that 
accrue to the film are "passed through" to the 
limited partners, who report them on their in- 
dividual tax returns. 

To illustrate the "pass through" concept: If 
Wheeler's film is depreciated at a certain rate, 
each limited partner will be able to take a depre- 
ciation deduction in proportion to his share in 
the total investment. 

The limited partnership agreement sets forth 
the terms that will govern the relationship be- 
tween the general partner and the limited part- 
ners. In the case of Wheeler's film, he and his 
production company will act as the general part- 
ner. 

An important aspect of the agreement is that 
it sets forth the division of the profits from the 
film. One common way of dividing the profits is 
a 50/50 split between the general partner and the 
JUNE 1984 




Manuel Arce took the for-profit dive to produce The Crossover Dream, here on location at Coney Island 



limited partners until the limited partners have 
recovered their initial investment. At that point, 
the split often shifts to a greater proportion for 
the general partner. 

Once the documents have been drafted, and 
old Aunt Peg finds it in her heart not only to in- 
vest in Wheeler's film, but also to interest her 
bridge club in the investment, the offering is 
made. Although an exempt offering does not 
have to file lengthy financial statements, the 
SEC still requires that a notice of the offering be 
filed. In addition, Wheeeler will usually have to 
file similar notices with each state in which the 
securities have been sold. The limited partner- 
ship must also be registered in the state in which 
it is formed. This is usually the state where 
Wheeler's production company has been in- 
corporated or is doing business. 

The biggest pitfall which Wheeler may en- 
counter in trying to raise money through private 
sources is underestimating the amount of money 
need to complete his film. In deciding how much 
money is needed, Wheeler should consider the 
fact that films almost always go over budget. 
Manuel Arce raised enough money through an 
initial private placement to finish a rough cut, 
but he is now having problems raising the 
money to re-shoot parts of the film. "It's hard 
because people don't feel that they have input 
once the rough cut is completed," Arce noted. 
And Phillip Kozma said that next time, he 
would raise more money for development costs. 
"It hurts the quality of the film to be always 
worrying about money." 



OTHER PRIVA TE SOURCES 

There are, of course, other avenues to suc- 
cessfully financing a film. Android, which was 
released in England in 1983 and in the United 
States this year, was made through a special deal 
with New World Pictures (when New World 
was still owned by Roger Corman). New World 
put up one-half of the budget in exchange for 
the United States and Canadian rights, while the 
other half was supplied by Android Productions 
(which was formed just to produce Android). 
Android Productions' original investment was 



raised through loans rather than a private place- 
ment. 

"Although New World liked the film" when 
it was completed, according to producer Barry 
Opper, "there was a disagreement over promo- 
tion." A new production company, SHO Films, 
formed by the Android Productions people, 
bought back New World's rights so that SHO 
Films would have exclusive, worldwide control 
over the film's distribution and promotion. 
SHO Films raised the money to buy New 
World's half interest through a private place- 
ment. 

SHO Films now has a joint venture agree- 
ment with Videoform Pictures, an English com- 
pany, for a second film. Opper said that he vast- 
ly preferred a joint venture because the paper- 
work and legal costs of a private placement are 
prohibitive. "Until you have a track record, you 
can't raise large sums unless you can turn to 
family or close acquaintances who know enough 
about you and have money to risk," he said. He 
acknowledged, however, that Android's success 
in England was the track record which enabled 
him to work out a joint venture arrangement 
with Videoform. 

With all the problems inherent in the for- 
profit route to financing, why do so many pro- 
ducers attempt it? Robert Nowotny ar^wered 
succinctly: "Control. I feel that I can combine 
my business experience with my business con- 
tacts to raise the money to make the kind of film 
I want to make." Barry Opper agreed, "We 
want to have control over projects that excite us. 
We don't want to remake last year's successes. 
If we have a genre movie, we want to be free to 
take a new approach." 

Wheeler has cast his lot with the not-for- 
profit or the for-profit markets. The money has 
been raised and is rapidly being spent on what 
promises to be a work of art. So we'll leave 
Wheeler for now, arguing with old Aunt Peg 
that she doesn't have to "feel" her character to 
play a woman walking her dog. Yes, in return 
for a hefty investment, Wheeler had to promise 
her and the chihuahua a walk-on part. That's 
entertainment. ■ 

Paula R. Schaap is a writer and entertainment 
lawyer. 



THE INDEPENDENT 



The American Film Institute; 



The AFI is America's "premiere film institution. " Whom does it serve? 



As expressed in its annual reports, the Ameri- 
can Film Institute's major objective is a noble 
one: "to increase recognition and understanding 
of the moving image as an art form." The 1966 
Stanford Research Institute Report, which first 
defined the scope and purpose of the Institute's 
role in film culture, sets forth equally high goals: 
the nurturance of "film excellence which will in 
turn stimulate higher artistic standards in au- 
diences," the promotion of "professional stan- 
dards of competence" and the support of 
"creative activities and creative talent [in] ... a 
climate of freedom of thought, inquiry, im- 
agination and individual initiative." Like 
motherhood, "excellence," "professional stan- 
dards" and "freedom of thought" are values to 
which few would object. The problem is that the 
meaning of these words largely depends on 
whomever is saying them. And independents 
have long suspected that, when AFI speaks, 
Hollywood is talking. What does AFI see as the 
most urgent need of the media field? The money 
devoted to its new campus answers the question; 
the consequences of the resulting debt have af- 
fected what many consider the most crucial, 
underserved areas of the film and video arts. 

Any account of the Institute today must begin 
with the purchase of a multi-million dollar piece 
of Los Angeles real estate four years ago. The 
acquistion of the eight-and-a-half acre site was 
practically the first act of AFI director Jean 
Firstenberg, and was a considered a great coup 
by many. For the previous 12 years, AFI's Los 
Angeles home was Greystone, a castle-like testa- 
ment to California architectural whimsy in the 
heart of Beverly Hills which housed its film 
school, the Center for Advanced Film Studies. 
The mansion's luxurious interior was ill-suited 
for a film institute, lacking proper space to 
screen films or hold production classes, and 
maintenace costs ate up close to $ 1 50,000 a year. 
But the yearly rent, payable to the City of Bever- 
ly Hills, was an affordable one dollar. 

Firstenberg had barely moved into her Wash- 
ington office when the Institute got word that it 
was about to lose its Beverly Hills bargain. AFI 
searched for and found an alternative site, the 
former campus of Immaculate Heart College. 
Its price tag was $5 million, and it would require 
another $5 million to equip and renovate. But 
within a few months, the deal was struck. All 
AFI had to do was raise $10 million. 

The early stages of the fundraising campaign 



were marked by some impressive successes, as 
AFI reaped the rewards of its longtime cultiva- 
tion of the movie industry. Warner Com- 
munications pledged $2 million over 10 yearly 
installments. "A charitable foundation," as the 
AFI annual report puts it, guaranteed an in- 
terest-free loan of $1 million. ARCO, Times 
Mirror, IBM, and television game-show czar 
Mark Goodson kicked in $250,000 each, and 
HBO was nudged into raising its pledge from 
$100,000 to $250,000 as well. Sony donated 
money and equipment to the newly created 
video center. The studios — Paramount, Warn- 
ers, Columbia — were less generous, committing 
a comparatively chintzy $50,000 apiece. Elaine 
Hoffman, who served as director of develop- 
ment of AFI from January, 1981 until last 
August, claims that at the time the purchase was 
made, the Institute had pledges totalling $5 
million. 

DOOMED TO DEBT DILEMMA ? 

But the money momentum was not maintain- 
ed. There were high hopes for a breakfast which 
AT&T hosted for AFI (William Ellinghaus, 
AT&T's president, had once been on the AFI 
board). "It was not very successful," Hoffman 
admits; gifts fell far short of the $2 million anti- 
cipated, and host AT&T pledged $50,000 in- 
stead of the hoped-for $250,000. The faltering 
campaign has left AFI unable to meets its sizable 
loan commitments. In fiscal 1982, the Institute's 
account was in arrears to the tune of $563,334; 
Union Bank deferred payment through the be- 
ginning of 1983. By June, 1983, $1,690,002 due 
Union Bank was unpaid; again, a waiver was 
granted. But the toll of the new campus is 
mounting: in order to put its affairs in order, 
AFI will have to come up with $4,500,000 in 
1984. Two million more is owed in 1985-1986. 

These little-publicized financial woes raise a 
number of questions about the place of indepen- 
dents within AFI. Independents have long 
hoped that the American Film Institute would 
help meet the pressing needs of their communi- 
ty, create new distribution outlets and nurture 
audience development. These are national prob- 
lems. But in light of this enormous debt, can 
AFI afford to attend to matters beyond its cam- 
pus borders? Has it become more tied to the 
cultural priorities of the industry on which it is 
now more economically dependent than ever? 
Whose cause does the new Los Angeles campus 



serve? It is time to take a look at the current state 
of affairs at AFI to determine the nature and ex- 
tent of independents' stake in this institution. 

The jewel of the Los Angeles campus and the 
driving force behind its acquisition is the Center 
for Advanced Film Studies (CAFS). Back in 
1966, when the Stanford Research Institute set 
its collective mind to determining the kinds of 
services that AFI could render, the researchers 
began with the assumption that their study 
"could focus most appropriately on the devel- 
opment of new, talented filmmakers — the peo- 
ple concerned with creating film art." 

The irony of this decision is that filmmakers' 
training was the one service already in existence. 
The Stanford committee was not oblivious to 
this fact, noting that there were dozens of 
university-affiliated film schools (today the 
figure is much higher), including two prestigious 
ones — UCLA and USC — right in the neighbor- 
hood. The problem with such schools, in the 
committee's judgment, was that they were 
"predominantly oriented toward training for 
art, documentary and related types of films, not 
toward the dramatic feature," which, the com- 
mittee determined, was the "one facet of 
film . . . largely responsible for the development 
of film as an art form." 

BETTER TEACHERS 

Another failure of academic schools was their 
faculties, which "seldom include a significant 
number of film artists." The unique approach 
of AFI's school, the committee 
concluded, would be to instill "professional 
standards of competence" and offer "oppor- 
tunities for the exercise of skills under 
professional conditions." In other words, the 
AFI school was to provide a link with the in- 
dustry. 

Alan Jacobs, ex-director of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers and one- 
time AFI board member, agreed that this is 
CAFS' great advantage. "There needs to be a 
place where new people have the chance to show 
what they can do. This is needed now because 
there is no longer a studio system to provide 
these opportunities. You can see it as a farm 
system, a place to develop talent." But if 
Hollywood needs a "farm system," why doesn't 
it pay for it? Why should federal subsidies sup- 
port the future of the capital-rich movie in- 
dustry? 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Mid-Life Crisis? 




I » ) c « t 5 a < » ) f < v ■• ,• : «. 



£« 



nCIHCliKHVN'Vf 



Debra Goldman 



CAFS has succeeded in generating some cred- 
ibility among the movers and shakers of 
Hollywood. One independent who completed 
the first year of the program and asked to re- 
main unnamed, reports, "It has a very good 
reputation in Hollywood. Students get a lot of 
exposure and meet a lot of filmmakers. It's a 
good way to get an agent. It's really not a film 
school environment: it's more like a small 
Hollywood factory." 

Yet another independent at CAFS, first-year 
fellow Glenn Silber, says that while "there are 
people who hang around, doing that shtick 
[of] finding out who's who," the notion that 
CAFS is just a venue into Hollywood is "some- 
thing of an insult and a misconception." Nor 
does he buy the argument that the school is re- 
dundant. "Sure, there are other film schools. 
But are they any good? I'm not sure many of 
them are." He decided to go to CAFS after 
"beating my head against the wall to beg, bor- 
row and steal money for my films. I came to 
realize that it is getting impossible to get support 
for even successful films about life and death 
matters. I wanted the option to make feature 
films that have a wider audience. This is a place 
where I can learn that craft." 

The heart of the first-year program is the 
creation of three half-hour videotape produc- 
tions, on which fellows from the directing, pro- 
ducing, writing and cinematography depart- 
ments collaborate. The Institute supplies a 
small stipend, an equipment package and the 
free services of SAG actors. Directors have five 
days to shoot, two days to log, four days to edit; 
the final tape is critiqued by students and facul- 
ty. "It's a very hands-on program," Silber says. 
"In certain ways that's one of the drawbacks. 
We're barely required to read a book." 

Only one-third of the first-year fellows are 
asked back for the second year of the program. 
The chosen few develop one or two scripts over 
the summer, and, after faculty review, five to 
eight projects are selected to be produced. AFI 
commits $17,000 to each production, a 16mm 
equipment package, but no stock; the film- 
maker is allowed to commit an additional 
$17,000 of his or her own money. 




A Greystone, the 
Hollywood answer to 
Hearst's castle, was 
AFI's unwieldy Los 
Angeles home (or 12 
years, an unsuitable 
facility but a bargain at 
$1 per year payable to 
the City of Beverly Hills. 
But in 1980 the city 
pulled its subsidy and 
new director Firsten- 
berg had to look 
elsewhere. . . 




SAFE, CUTE STORIES 

In selecting the films to be produced, produc- 
tion fellow Claudia Vianelli warns, "There is a 
strong emphasis on story-telling in the Holly- I? I 





FFF 



Sleeker and stuccoed, 
the old campus of im- 
maculate Heart College 
was proudly secured by 
AFI. But the new home 
may be streamlined In 
architecture only. A 
fundralslng shortfall on 
the $10 million campus 
has left AFI In the red 
and indies wondering If 
there's money left for 
their needs. 



wood mode. If you're interested in avant-garde 
or experimental work, this is not the place." The 
anonymous independent agrees that the faculty 
favors "safe, nice, cute little stories. They could 
care less what you're trying to say. The school is 
building craftsmen for the industry, not explor- 
ing new ground." 

Jacobs, a close observer of both AFI and the 
indie scene, believes independents have no quar- 
rel with CAFS' priorities because of its emphasis 
on the supposedly neutral value of "craft." "No 
one knows what kind of films the people who go 
here will eventually make," he insists. "No one 
knows whether [former CAFS fellow] David 
Lynch is going to make an Eraserhead or The 
Elephant Man." Silber, a political documen- 
tarian who described himself as "the least likely 
filmmaker to be here," confirmed that his ex- 
perience at the school does not "necessarily 
mean that I am going to make 'Hollywood' 
films in the future," but, he said, he was glad to 
learn the skills. Silber has a point: independent 
producers need more "options" these days 
because American film culture — or at least 
American funding sources— provide fewer of 
them. 

PROGRAM ORBITS 

The filmmakers' school is the major, but not 
only, program on the Los Angeles campus. Since 
its purchase, the institute has concentrated the ma- 
jority of its activities there, so some other AFI pro- 
grams have been drawn into the CAFS orbit. 
Education Services was moved west; although 
intended as a national information clearing- 
house for academic film scholars, it has since 
become involved in organizing CAFS seminars 
featuring Hollywood professionals. The Sony 
Video Center, under the aegis of Television and 
Video Services, provides equipment for first- 
year fellows. The Student Film Distribution pro- 
gram, which is part of the catch-all Media Pro- 
grams division, sells second-year student films to 
cable and public TV (such as Miss Lonely- 
hearts, broadcast this year as part of American 
Playhouse). Any money received from these 
sales goes first to the SAG actors who donated 
their talents to the projects. The remainder 
reverts back to the Institute to recoup its $17,000 
investment; in the unlikely event that there is 
then any money left over, it goes to the film- 
maker. 

Cost efficiency dictates that the National 
Video Festival, once a Washington event, now 
be held on LA property. In 1982 , the TV/Video 
staff attempted to hold the festival on both 
coasts, but, says director James Hindman, "We 
almost killed ourselves and broke the budget, 
too." Hindman likes being situated in LA. The 
festival sponsors guest videomakers who show 
and talk about their work, "and we get a good 
mix. About half the audience is from the school, 
and the other half is from the general public. 
The problem in Washington is that we couldn't 
get people to come in and see video." 

Exhibition Services is one of the programs 
which remains in Washington. In contrast to the 
bustling activity on the LA campus, Exhibition 
has had a hard couple of years, despite the suc- 

18 





Leslie Hill's The Tie That Binds was supported by AFI's 
funds to indies. 



cess of its touring programs. But the connection 
between AFI's investment of time and money in 
real estate and the Exhibition program's troub- 
les remains unclear. 

Exhibition Services began in 1980 as an 
expansion of AFI's outreach program, which, 
as the name implies, attempted to give AFI some 
badly needed presence in the rest of the country. 
In three years, Exhibition toured five programs, 
which were evenly divided between foreign films 
(New Hungarian Cinema, China Film Week) 
and independent films (New American Cinema, 
the Jewish Film Festival). The currently touring 
program, "American Film Institute Presents the 
British Film Institute," falls somewhere in- 
between. 

Most of these tours stopped in major cities 
where foreign and independent films are rel- 
atively well known. However, they also went 
deeper into the media hinterlands: Whitesburg, 
Kentucky; Gainesville, Florida; St. Louis, 
Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska. The press 
coverage of the New American Cinema tour il- 
lustrates why such a program is so important to 
indies. In Atlanta, a columnist patiently explain- 
ed to her readers what independent film is. In 
Houston, another journalist urged the public to 
give independent film "a chance," referring to 
the showcase as "a lovechild" of AFI and its co- 
sponsor, the Independent Feature Project. 

BACK IN DC 

But back in Washington, the exhibition staff 
was experiencing problems that did not feel 
much like love. Exhibition's 1981 budget was set 
at $107,000. Four months into fiscal 1982, the 
staff was informed that its budget had been cut 



61 % , leaving the program with considerably less 
money than CAFS distributes each year to its 
second-year students. The staff was then asked 
to cut its budget by an additional 8-11%. 
Moreover, there were discrepancies between Ex- 
hibition's own financial records and the ad- 
ministrative budget printout; where the former 
showed revenues, the latter showed deficits. Ac- 
cording to an internal AFI memo, a $14,000 
grant from the Ford Foundation somehow got 
"lost." Where did the money go? No one 
knows. In June, 1983, Exhibition director Nan- 
cy Sher was let go. The program was absorbed 
into a larger division including the Institute's 
other major piece of real estate, the AFI Theater 
in Washington. 

A similar fate befell Education Services, 
which produced the AFI newsletter and 
monographs. At the beginning of 1980, the 
Education staff numbered 1 1 . By spring of that 
year, two staffers had been laid off. And so it 
went, until the staff had dwindled to four. "We 
were told there were general budget cuts. There 
were different justifications," one dismissed 
employee says. "You just had to accept what 
they said, because the budgets were kept very 
secret. But I noticed that while we were losing 
people, the school was hiring additional part- 
timers." While Exhibition was cut, Education 
lost three more staffers, including program di- 
rector Peter Bukalski. Only a single "educa- 
tional liaison" remained. 

Firstenberg has been upbeat about the staff 
cuts. "We feel good about them because there is 
a philosophical underpinning to this," she said. 
"You have to focus on what you can do very 
well." Intended as reassurance, her remarks 
read more like a confession. Nevertheless, First- 
enberg reports that Education is coming back. 
"We never intended to cut it for long," she says. 
"We wanted to reassess and evaluate it. In July, 
we will rev it up again." But educators have seen 
Education Services come back before, and it 
may take a lot of "revving up" to convince them 
that AFI has any interest in their needs. Exhibi- 
tion", too, is in good health, Firstenberg claims. 
"We would like to tour as much as possible. We 
have an Arab series coming up this fall." It will 
be followed by Japanese films and experimental 
Dutch cinema. But what about independents? 
The answer to that question might lie in LA, 
where the Filmex festival just settled into 
quarters on the AFI campus. Ken Wlashin, 
Filmex's director, has a good reputation with in- 
dependents from his years with the London 
Film Festival. It will be interesting to see whether 
he can bring his knowledge to bear on any future 
collaborations with AFI. 



A CERTAIN SOMETHING 

How much influence does the National En- 
dowment for the Arts have over affairs at AFI? 
According to the NEA, last year the Endow- 
ment contributed $1.6 million to AFI's general 
fund, plus another million in contracts for such 
projects as Preservation and the Independent 
Filmmakers Program. As AFI's annual report 
reminds us, this repesents only 26% of its 

JUNE 1984 



budget. On the other hand, AFI's grant 
represents more than a quarter of the NEA's total 
Media Arts budget of $9 million, and it is a good 
deal more than the $1.2 million given through 
the NEA Media Art Centers Program, which 
was divided among 100 organizations. Last 
year, none of these latter institutions received 
more than $30,000 from the program. More- 
over, because the Institute has its own funding 
panel at the NEA, AFI does not compete 
against other organizations for its share of NEA 
monies. Thus, while the august Museum of 
Modern Art must go up against the Alabama 
Film Co-op for its thousands of dollars, AFI 
gets its $2 million-plus without being subjected 
to any competitive scrutiny. 

AFI also maintains a special relationship with 
the NEA through contracted programs. The 
oldest of these is the Independent Filmmakers 
Program, through which the NEA has funneled 
money to individual producers since 1968. Mar- 
tha Carrell, who until last March administered 
the program, described it as a "good, clean pro- 
gram" in which each year unspent administra- 
tive funds are recycled into additional grants. 
Open to experienced filmmakers only, last year 
the program gave $262,757 — all of it from the 
NEA — to 15 filmmakers in grants ranging from 
$2,500 to $20,000. Because grant winners have 
come predominantly from New York and 
California over the years, NEA and AFI launch- 
ed a regional fellowship program in 1981-1982, 
which awards smaller grants in different parts of 
the country; to this latter program AFI commits 
dollars of its own. 

Unfortunately, once the money is disbursed 
and accounted for, AFI forgets about the films 
— unless one happens to be nominated for an 
Academy Award, like Julia Reichert and James 
Klein's Seeing Red, in which case the Institute 
may send out a press release. But instead of 
ghettoizing its involvement with independents, 
the AFI could publicize its administrative good 
deeds by trying to get some of those films before 
an audience. A great number of the films fea- 
tured in the "AFI Presents the BFI"series were 
originally funded by the British Film Institute; 
why not provide the same service for American 
indies? AFI already has a special program set up 
to sell the films of its students. Perhaps the 
problem is that, since the production funds for 
the most part don't come out of AFI's own 
pocket, the Institute is not very interested. 

PRESER VA TION OR BUST 

Preservation, hobbyhorse of NEA chairman 
Frank Hodsoll, is also administered by AFI ad- 
ministrators for the NEA. Like the AFI itself, 
preservation is one of those "needs" of film 
culture that was decided from on high. This 
year, in addition to the $500,000 to the Endow- 
ment already contracted to AFI (which is redis- 
tributed to film archives across the country), 
NEA gave an additional $230,000 to create the 
Center for Film and Video Preservation, bring- 
ing the total to a hefty $250,000. Media arts 
organizations living on Reaganite rations have 
to wonder: why is the money being spent this 
way? 

JUNE 1984 





Eric Roberts writes advice to the lovelorn in Miss 
Lonely hearts, one of the successes of AFI's Independent 
Filmmakers Program. 

The project is so important to the NEA that 
Firstenberg has agreed to give the new center its 
own board, which is to help raise some of the 
$50 million Hodsoll estimates preservation ulti- 
mately requires. But given the problems AFI's 
own board is having raising money for its capital 
campaign, another board within the In- 
stitute — which must inevitably compete for con- 
tributions — is hardly what the AFI needs. 

When asked about the potential competition 
between the boards, Firstenberg cheerfully 
declared, "I don't see any conflict." But an 
NEA administrator was more realistic. "It's a 
tricky situation. The present AFI board mostly 
consists of executives from the production side 
of the business. These people rarely stay in their 
positions for more than a few years. For the 
Center, we're hoping to get executives from the 
controlling corporations, the men at the top of 
places like MCA, who have a long-term interest 
in the preservation problem." (And no wonder. 
A recent New York Times article reported that 
studio film libraries are currently worth hun- 
dreds of millions of dollars.) Between paying for 
its real estate and raising $50 million for preser- 
vation, AFI may well exhaust available funding 
sources without a cent reaching a living film- 
maker — unless, of course, he or she is attending 
the AFI school. 

To those who object that the Center will in- 
evitably become a proxy for the industry, the 
NEA administrator replies, "There is no way 
preservation efforts can succeed unless 
Hollywood gets behind them." He points to the 
support the AFI has lent Anthology Film Ar- 
chives in its efforts to preserve independent 
work and to the AFI collection of black films at 



the Library of Congress. This may sound 
suspiciously like a "trickle-down" arrangement, 
but the administrator insists that "the NEA can- 
not provide money to serve all the varieties of 
film requiring preservation. We have to draw on 
the private sector." 
The Center's director, Bob Rosen (currently 
If? on leave from the UCLA Achive) is aware of the 
| independent film community's suspicions about 
1 the program. "I've taken a few swipes at the 
- AFI myself in the past," he says. "There is a lot 
of sensitivity on this issue. But we're committed 
to preserving all kinds of images. We're not 
talking strictly about studios. We plan to do a 
touring program of preserved films which will 
definitely include independent pieces." 

INDIE INPUT? 

Firstenberg echoes this conciliatory message 
to independents. There's been discussion about 
putting more independents on the board, she re- 
ports. (AFI's board members are selected from 
candidates proposed by its nominating commit- 
tee.) "We've put it on the agenda. Within the 
year there will be other voices." The question is 
whether under current conditions they will have 
much effect; after all, there were three educators 
on the board when Education got the axe. 

On the other hand, Jacobs claims that during 
his tenure on the board he lobbied successfully 
for the appointment of Peter Biskind (former 
editor of Seven Days) as editor of American 
Film, the AFI magazine which reaches 140,000 
readers. While no one can mistake American 
Film for an "obscure, avante-garde journal 
dedicated to 16mm Czech cinema," as Charlton 
Heston put it in a recent membership solicitation 
letter, coverage of independents has visibly in- 
creased since Biskind took charge. During the 
Olympic Arts Festival scheduled for mid- July in 
Los Angeles, Television and Video Services is 
presenting a video exhibition curated by other 
southern California media institutions such as 
Long Beach and Cal Arts. Also during the 
Olympics, AFI has scheduled free private 
screenings of films ranging from Hollywood 
blockbusters to Harlan County, U.S.A. for the 
assembled athletes. Entertaining Olympic ath- 
letes may not be the most productive project a 
publicly funded national media organization 
can undertake. But it is unlikely that, five years 
ago, independent films would have been part of 
such a public relations package. 

While some will be encouraged by AFI's talk 
of strengthening its ties to independents, cynics 
note that talk is cheap, and a $6.5 million debt is 
the stuff that institutional priorities are made of. 
As long as the Union Bank keeps waiving those 
loan repayments, the Institute will probably sur- 
vive. But it must re-examine its priorities. In- 
dependents need AFI to lend them visibility — 
through the pages of its magazine, through ex- 
hibition, and through audience education. And 
to give teeth to its claim that it promotes the "art 
of the moving image," AFI needs independents, 
too. ■ 

Debra Goldman is a freelance writer specializ- 
ing in media issues. 

19 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Festivals 



Montreal Nouveau, 
A Home for Indies 



Kathleen Hulser 

The Montreal International Festival of Nou- 
veau Cinema is one of the most hospitable 
places for independents in North America. The 
city's mayor, Jean Drapeau, is a balding bundle 
of French-Canadian energy and corruption who 
has been in office for decades and ensures that 
money flows into cultural coffers. (Although 
when he doesn't like what he sees, he sends in 
the police: witness the police raid on the "Cor- 
ridart" Olympic expo in 1976 which was knock- 
ed down because of the anti-gentrification art 
displayed.) 

The Montreal fest has been around a dozen 
years, and 1983 was its largest edition yet. In ad- 
dition to the 130 films of differing lengths, the 
video section offered some 100 tapes to the pub- 
lic in a congenial, barely converted screening 
room on Boulevard St. Laurent. St. Laurent is 
an Eastern European market street filled with 
shopping babushkas. Unlike the neighboring 
Prince Arthur area, St. Laurent hasn't fallen in- 
to terminal chicdom yet — as proof I cite the 
bearded thirtyish man in a Superman outfit with 
a cloak and a yarmulke who I encountered on 
my way to festival headquarters at 9:30 am. 

Featured star of the 1983 event was Werner 
Schroeter, who occasionally descended from his 
poetic cloud to debate with the audience. At a 
tribute to director-cinematographer collabora- 
tion, Henri Alekan (aging French cameraman 
who has worked with everyone from Abel 
Gance to Raul Ruiz) talked in wry anecdotes 
Luminary of the New German Cinema Thomas 
Mauch noted his dislike for precise scripts: 
"What orgasm was ever written on paper?" 
Women were notably absent on the panel of this 
sold-out presentation — but I bet Montreal fem- 
inists won't let festival directors Dimitri Epides 
and Claude Chamberlan forget it for next year. 

On the other hand, women were quite visible 
on the screening schedule. One enterprising 
short feature — A Real Man by French-Chilean 
Valeria Sarmiento — took a sardonic tour of 
Latin American macho, revealing the insidious 
leaps from tenderness to romanticism to double- 
standards to domination. The features hailed 
from many continents and ethnicities: Lam-Le's 
Dust of the Empire (France- Vietnam), Charles 
Burnett's My Brother's Wedding, George 
Kuchar's Cattle Mutilation and Venezuelan 
John Petrizelli's The Bewitching. American in- 
dies were well-distributed throughout the pro- 
gram, from international features to the large 
"Nuclear" section. Participants included Lizzie 
Borden, Bette Gordon, Robert Mugge, Spike 
Lee, Susan Sontag, Howard Brookner and 
Mark Ranee. 

20 



The Video Art section was especially note- 
worthy this year. The set-up in Cinema Parallele 
was both kind-of kitsch and kind-of comforta- 
ble. Chairs were spread not too deep in about 
five rows in front of a line of monitors mounted 
on fake columns in piles of sand (like the saw- 
dust shavings on the floor of a butcher shop — 
what a fantasy!). The screenings were well- 
attended and held people's attention, quite an 
accomplishment in view of the widely varying 
interest level of the tapes. Luc Bourdon and 
Thrassyvoulos Giatsios did an excellent job of 
rounding up an international selection of 
videotapes. One big contributor was Tune Based 
Arts from Amsterdam; one of its notable con- 
tributions was Paula Vanes' minimalist 20 Per- 
formances for Hands, which worked a max- 
imum effect with two fetchingly attired sets of 
fingers and some strangely miked soundtracks. 
Also interesting to an American viewer was a 
slick dance video art collaboration between 
Italian TV and Falso Movimiento called Tango 
Glaciate, which crossed the style and moves of 
Twyla Tharp, Ping Chong and Robert Ashley. 
Also on hand was an extensive collection of 
tapes from The Kitchen and several conceptual/ 
performance-oriented Japanese tapes. Nomina- 
tion for the most unusual sub-category goes to 



INDEPENDENTS 
& SOUTH AFRICA 

Independent filmmakers are currently being 
asked to enter their films in South Africa 's 
Durban International Film Festival. Following is 
an excerpt from the African National Congress' 
policy on such participation, as expressed in a 
letter to St. Clair Bourne of Chamba 
Productions: "The apartheid system has been 
universally condemned as a crime against 
humanity. . While we are appreciative of the 
good intentions of groups like the Durban 
International Film Festival, we suggest non- 
participation in such programs because there 
can be no normal cultural interaction in an 
abnormal society . If artists seek to profit 
from the system of inhuman oppression of the 
Black people of South Africa, they will not be 
allowed to benefit from the patronage of 
countries and peoples committed to the 
struggle against apartheid. " 



Greek video; curator Gatsios hails from Athens, 
where he organized the first-ever video art 
festival two years ago. All in all, the big video 
sidebar was an auspicious first. 

The large press room with lunch tables on St. 
Laurent offered a daytime gathering place for 
festival participants. There were complaints that 
screening sites were too spread out, and Cham- 
berlan says that the 1984 festival will probably 
be held in one multi-screen location. Last year 
the schedule was often juggled around at the last 
minute, with cancellations and delays galore. 
On the other hand, the press coverage is ex- 
tensive, CBC radio ricks in with reviews and 
interviews and the crowds are young and appre- 
ciative. 

There's been some tension between the two 
halves of the festival direction, and it's rumored 
that an altered structure in 1984 may result, but 
at press time we were unable to verify the details. 




20 Dialogues for Hands from the Montreal film festival. 



JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



Chamberlan says he will probably make a pre- | 
view trip to New York in late June or early July, a 
The festival will take place in late October this | 
year, right after the close of the Independent | 
Feature Market (Chamberlan says he hopes to ;§ 
bring some features and filmers directly from £ 
the IFP). Deadline for entry is July 15. All for- 
mats accepted. Apply to Epides or Chamberlan 
at 3724 Blvd. St. Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, 
Canada H2X 2V8; (514) 843^711. 

— Kathleen Hulser 



Mannheim: 

Too Big for Britches 

Maybe it's getting too big for its britches, but 
last year the International Mannheim Week was 
not what it used to be. The festival's 26-mem- 
ber, five-category jury results in a overdose of 
bureaucratic red tape, the administration is 
alienating, the quantity of the films disconcert- 
ing, and the assembly-line press conferences 
superficial. But despite this, almost everyone 
who's someone in the film world has won a prize 
at Mannheim. Even Walt Disney is listed on 
their roster. This kind of psychological domina- 
tion is the fest's strongest asset, and they know 
it. 

Mannheim can still afford to give substantial 
cash awards, a rarity in this age of gold-plated 
plaques. The Grand Prize (approximately 
$4,000) is awarded to a first fiction film over 60 
minutes, but the rest of the fest focuses on docu- 
mentaries, with a strong emphasis on politics. 
But if you're into musicals or light stuff, forget 
it— although the National Film Board of Cana- 
da did manage to screen The Shimmering Beast, 
a feature on moose-hunting. 

Americans are generally well-represented at 
Mannheim (in 1983, films were selected by New 
Time Films' Penny Bernstein). Enormous 
Changes at the Last Minute (Mirra Bank and 
Ellen Hovde), The Secret Agent (Jacki Ochs) 
and Where Did You Get That Woman? (Loretta 
Smith) were well-received, while Freckled Rice 
(Steve Ning) and In Our Hands (Robert Richter 
and Stanley Warnow) walked away with prizes 
worth about $1,000 each. With the German 
anti-nuclear rally in Bonn coming up, In Our 
Hands proved to be an especially appropriate 
entry. 

A rewarding offshoot of the sixties, when 
Mannheim was interested in American experi-l 
mental films and animation, is the Josef von | 
Sternberg award for "originality" (worth ap-£ 
proximately $1600). The films entered into this| 
category are few and far between, but Ed Em- § 
shwiller, Karen Arthur, Richard Beymer, Sandy 
Moore and Jim Jarmusch all have this plaque on 
this walls. Last year, Larry Roberts and Diane 
Orr won the prize with SL-1, a hybrid documen- 
tary reconstructing the first nuclear reactor acci- 
dent in Idaho. 

Mannheim seems to be in its Teutonic Period. 
Although it has an attendance press list border- 
ing on the colossal, closer scrutiny reveals that 
80% of the publications are German. If you 
want a write-up in the Rheinpfalz or dream of 
JUNE 1084 




Steve Ning's film on growing up in Boston's Chinatown, 
Freckled Rice, was one of the prize-winners at Mannheim. 

making sales to German TV stations ZDF, 
SDR, WDR, WWF, NDR or ARD, this is def- 
initely the festival for you. There are plenty of 
other buyers walking around, but they aren't 
necessarily buying! One Dutch TV buyer was 
dropping into everything but found the quality 
"not up to TV standards." To sell, you have to 
stick around personally, but most US films were 
not represented by their producers. (Because of 
economic restrictions, Mannheim does not pay 
for transportation, but they do offer accommo- 
dations and $15 per day.) 

Mannheim's substitute for parties is the mid- 
night press conference, held in a small room ad- 
jacent to a noisy beer hall. Most people divide 
their time between drinking and discussing. (77ze 
Children from Himmlertown, a film about the 
Nazis and Poles, ignited a heated one-hour 
debate.) The key to getting anything out of these 
rap sessions is to speak German, as this is the 
language of the fest. There is little effort to 
translate, thus alienating about one-third of the 
audience. When New York sound editor Margie 
Crimmins took to the podium to answer ques- 




Grandma smiles for her boy's camera in Mark Ranee's 
family verite Death and the Singing Telegram, at Nyon. 



tions about The Secret Agent, a major concern 
expressed was that the film didn't make sense in 
German! 

Best film from a Third World country is the 
latest addition to Mannheim's family of prizes. 
This $5,000 prize is funded by the Federal Mini- 
stry of Economics for a film dealing with 
"hunger, poverty, or oppression capable of 
arousing the sensitivity of the German people 
toward the problems of the Third World." 
Films from Ecuador, Angloa, Nicaragua, 
Martinique, Iran were screened daily. 

Films not officially entered are often pre- 
sented in one of the Information Programs. In 
1983, UCLA showed a package of four films 
organized by Jorge Preloran which included his 
own Quilino, Frank de Palma's Hibakusha 
Gallery, Teresa Sparks' The Composition and 
Tony Shiff s My Place. Both Shiff and de Palma 
were touring Europe and came to the fest hop- 
ing to draw attention to their student produc- 
tions. Shiff remained a bit skeptical and said he 
hadn't seen much of a "public" during the film 
week. But does this fest need a public? It already 
has too many people. 

Mannheim Film Week Director Fee Vaillant 
will make selections in New York through the 
FIVF Festial Bureau in August. Documentaries 
of any length and first fiction films over 60 
minutes are eligible. For entry forms and regula- 
tions send a stamped, selfaddresed envelope to 
FIVF/ Mannheim, 625 Broadway, NY, NY 
10012. Filmmakers must pay for shipment to 
and from New York, and all material will be due 
Aug. 10. If you wish to contact Mannheim 
directly: Stadt Mannheim, Filmwochenburo, 
Rathaus, E-5, 6800 Mannheim 1, West Ger- 
many; (0621) 293-27 45. T ,. r 

— Jacqueline Leger 

Jacqueline Leger is a filmmaker and jour- 
nalist living in Switzerland. She is contributing a 
series of articles on European festivals to this 
column. 



Nyon: 

Smaller Is Better 

October's alternative to the Mannheim Film 
Week is the International Film Festival of Nyon, 
which also specializes in documentaries. Nyon is 
a smaller event, in a smaller town, with a smaller 
budget. The result? It is better organized, the 
administration is accessible, and the screenings 
are limited. Your preference for either getting 
lost in a crowd or sticking out like a sore thumb 
should determine your festival choice. New 
York filmmaker Sheldon Rochlin chose Nyon 
for his film Signals Through the Flames because 
it was "a nice place to be." (He won an award in 
Mannheim in 1965 for his film Vali.) For a New 
Yorker, Nyon can be business plus vacation: it is 
a quiet 15 minutes from Geneva, and sports a 
small port and flower-decked quays. 

The festival wakes up the town each year by 
introducing a wide range of documentary films. 
which it promotes as "an essential part of our 
society." It is run like a tight ship by Erika de 
Hadeln. Nyon and Mannheim are said to be 

81 



THE INDEPENDENT 



competitive, but they have little in common, al- 
though some films do sneak into both. De 
Hadeln's husband, Moritz, is the director of the 
Berlin Film Festival and acts as coordinator 
here, so one finds a type of "Berlin 
Connection," with films coming and going be- 
tween the two fests. 

Language is not a problem at Nyon. Even if 
only one person in the crowd doesn't speak 
French, a private translator is made available (in 
many cases Erika de Hadeln herself!). The press 
does not take on cattle market proportions in 
Nyon. Representatives of Swedish, Belgian and 
Swiss TV are present, and actively buy. 

Films are chosen by a five-member jury. In 
keeping with the flavor of small-town life, there 
is also a public jury, made up of local townsfolk 
of all ages interested enough in film to raise 
money from local businesses to buy an addition- 
al prize. (It's touches like this that make Nyon 
attractive.) There are no cash awards, but a gold 
Sesterce and three silver Sesterces, usually divid- 
ed into categories like ethnographic, newsreel or 
compilation films, are given. (A Sesterce is a 
Roman coin, originally made of silver and later 
of brass or copper.) The festival is run on a 
$75,000 budget, so it's not too extravagant in its 
tastes. Filmmakers must pay transportation 
costs but three-night hotel accommodations are 
offered. There is no entry fee for films. 

This year's overall theme was war. Long 
video projects like the National Film Board of 
Canada's seven-part War and WGBH's 13-part 
Vietnam: A Television History were shown, and 
there were many discussions on the political and 
social implications of these series. One may 
question whether these large super-budget pro- 
ductions (War cost $2.5 million, while Vietnam 
cost $5 million) belong in a competitive film 
festival where the majority of works are by low- 
budget producers, and the festival acknowled- 
ges this problem up to a point. US filmmaker 
Peter Entell, a jury member, said there was 
some conflict in giving prizes to productions 
that "don't need a launching." But this concern 
seemed short-lived. War won both a silver 
Sesterce and the public prize, although the gold 
award went to Austalian Gary Kildea's 16mm 
Celso and Cora, a depiction of the simple daily 
life of a Philippine family. 

In 1983, there were eight US entries in the 
17-country line-up. The de Hadlens have eclectic 
tastes, and films from China, Senegal and 
Venezuela were shown. Although the couple 
serve as the entire selection committee, both 
Manfred Salzgeber and Gordon Hitchens serve 
as US consultants. Tools for Research (M. 
Carosello), Five American Guns (John Cos- 
grove), Season of Thunder (Jeff Chester), 
Nicaragua: Report from the Front (Deborah 
Shaffer and Tom Sigel) and Seeing Red: Stories 
American Communists (Julia Reichert and 
James Klein) were among the US entries. The 
only US winners were Marc Ranee's Death and 
the Singing Telegram, a 1 14-minute family saga 
shot in cinema verite a la Leacock, and the Viet- 
nam opus. Although these films couldn't be 
more polar, they do have one common element: 
time. Vietnam reportedly took six years to 




Trapper In/an Perez at work in the marshes in a scene 
from Mosquiios and High Water by Andrew Kolker and 
Louis Alvarez. 

make, but Ranee is running a close second, with 
five years work to his credit. 

Like Mannheim, Nyon is for people interest- 
ed in social and political issues rather than pure 
entertainment. When a local journalist inter- 
viewed passers-by about the Nyon films, many 
people responded that "they see this kind of 
thing on TV," indicating that the comfort of 
their own living rooms might be more hospitable 
to documentary viewing that a public space. But 
Nyon offers a chance for active communication, 
not only by showing films but also by debating 
their content, often for days. 

Festival Director Erika de Hadeln will select 
social issue documentaries in New York and 
Montreal in mid-July. For more information 
and entry forms, contact: Gordon Hitchens, 214 
West 85th St, #3-W, NY NY 10024, (212) 877- 
6856. Direct entries due in Switzerland by Sept. 
Contact: Nyon Int'l FF, PO Box 98, CH-1260 
Nyon, Switzerland; (022) 61. 60. 60. —JL 



San Antonio Cinefest Grows 

The Ninth San Antonio CineFestival (1984) is 
broadening its perspective by incorporating 
Latin American and Iberian cinema, while re- 
taining its focus on Latino film and video pro- 
duced in the United States. This year's festival 
will highlight vintage and contemporary alter- 
native Mexican films, and analyze North Ameri- 
can films which address Latino and Latin 
American themes. Formerly called the Chicano 
Film Festival, CineFestival has played an impor- 
tant role in fostering excellence and providing a 
forum and showcase for cinema and video rele- 
vant to Chicano and Latino issues both by La- 
tino and non-Latino producers. 

The festival has undergone many changes 
since its founder, Adan Medrano, left two years 
ago. CineFestival opened last year under the 
new directorship of Eduardo Diaz, a former 
television producer. The festival also moved 
from the sponsorship of Oblate College of the 
Southwest to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Cen- 
ter; it is hoped that this will increase the par- 
ticipation from the San Antonio Latino com- 
munity. 

"We intend to continue gearing the festival to 
the community, but we also need to target the 
East Coast, Latin America and Spain," said 



Diaz. He started last year by holding a sym- 
posium to analyze the relationship between US 
Latino cinema and New Latin American cine- 
ma. The discussion culminated in the screening 
of Pastor Vega's Ret rat o de Teresa (Portrait of 
Teresa), one of Cuba's most popular films. 

The festival has received an increasing num- 
ber of entries from non-Latino producers. Last 
year, the festival featured a special presentation 
of the 1954 film classic Salt of the Earth by Paul 
Jarrico and other blacklisted filmmakers, along 
with A Crime to Fit the Punishment, co-pro- 
duced by Barbara Moss and Steve Mack, which 
addresses the political issues raised by the pro- 
duction of Salt of the Earth. 

Diaz is considering making the presently non- 
competitive festival a juried competitition, and 
encouraging distributors, television program 
directors and academics to attend. But Cine- 
Festival has no difficulty attracting entries, the 
public or the press. As the only ongoing 
American Latino festival other than the Latino 
Film and Video Festival in New York, it has 
received national press coverage in such publica- 
tions as Variety, Broadcasting and Nuestro. 

However, the festival has been criticized for 
its dearth of new material. For example, Chi- 
cana, a film produced by Sylvia Morales, was 
shown at CineFestival four years ago and again 
last year. Morales attributes this lack of new 
productions to the financial difficulties of in- 
dependent producers. But, she adds, "I also 
think that [last year] there was a lot of new work 
in production, and we will be seeing it at the 
festival this year." 

Diaz, whom the San Antonio press has label- 
ed as "clearly an activist," has been accused of 
giving the festival a left-wing orientation, as 
represented by such films as Sandino Lives 
(Ronald Saucci) and Portrait of Teresa . "The 
problem," countered Diaz, "is a lack of 
understanding of the New Latin American 
cinema, and [those who do] not recognize its im- 
pact." 

Features, documentaries, shorts, animation, 
television news, public affairs and performance 
films are accepted. Formats include 16mm, 
Super-8, 8mm, Vi " and Vt ". Entry fee is $15; 
deadline for entries is July 20. 

This year, the festival is expanding to five 
days (August 24-28) in order to handle the in- 
creasing number of entries and to better feature 
selected films, symposia and a film poster ex- 
hibit. For information contact Guadalupe Cul- 
tural Arts Center, 1300 Guadalupe St., San An- 
tonio TX 78207; (512) 271-3151. 

— Maria T. Rojas 

Maria T. Rojas is an independent producer 
and journalist from New Jersey and is now 
working with the Latino TV Broadcasting Serv- 
ice, Inc. in New York. 



New York Film Festival: 
The Big Time 

The New York Film Festival is synonymous 
with the big time in US festivals, and for the few 
independents who make it in, the rewards of at- 



JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 




| of interest included Souleymane Cisse's 



The 



A scene from Eagle Pennell's Last Night at the Alamo. 



tention and subsequent distribution can be im- 
mediate and dramatic. The large size of the hall 
at Lincoln Center is only one of the many fac- 
tors which encourages the festival to lean toward 
prudent programming choices, but the number 
of films presented (usually 25-30) allows occa- 
sional interesting glimpses of the international 
and domestic scene. 

In 1983, Julia Reichert and James Klein's See- 
ing Red, a documentary about America's cud- 
dly commies of the 1930s, was the first film to 
sell out — demonstrating that a documentary 
with a hot subject matter can draw crowds as 
well as the old stand-by European directors 
favored by festival director Richard Roud do. 
Another documentary, Howard Brookner's 
Burroughs, attracted a lunatic fringe which 
usually doesn't frequent the sacred halls of Alice 
Tully. 

In one way, the NYFF has bucked recent 
trends: it's selected more independent documen- 
taries (six last year) than independent fiction 
features (only Last Night at the Alamo by Eagle 
Pennell made it). Just to prove how confused it 
is about what constitutes popular culture, the 
festival committee programmed Chantal Aker- 
man's The Golden Eighties at midnight. This 
avant-garde musical pastiche of grand exits and 
entries is about as far from a midnight movie as I 



Bye-Bye Wendy 

We wish the best of luck to Wendy Udell, who 
left the staff of AIVF in May to do freelance 
media consulting and production. Wendy is a 
three-year veteran here, and her work as 
assistant director cum festival bureau chief 
and business manager has contributed to 
AlVF's dramatic growth during her tenure. 



could imagine, but it did turn out to be an amus- 
ing and idiosyncratic effort that would have 
been more coherent if programmed as a sequel 
to Akerman's Toute Une Nuit, an episodic col- 
lage of truncated romances. Other foreign fare 



Wind, which dealt with the misguided values of 
contemporary Malian youth; Mani Kaul's 
2. Dhrupad, a wonderful and mysterious 
| documentary from India about the origins of 
§ classical raga; and the Canadian tongue-in- 
§ cheek reflection on ethnocentricity, Sifted 
5 Evidence by Patricia Gruben. 

As an established festival with a seemingly 
eternal director, the event never changes direc- 
tion radically. Over the last four years, the 
number of American independents has increas- 
ed, particularly in the documentary category. 
The proportion of intriguing Third World fare 
remains slim (three last year), and it's regrettable 
that a festival heavily supported through tax 
dollars sees fit to program the top-grossing The 
Big Chill, a Secaucus Seven remake from Col- 
umbia Pictures, instead of devoting its precious 
slots to rarer birds. 

This year's programming committee consists 
of Roud, Richard Corliss, David Thomson, J. 
Hoberman and newcomer Molly Haskell. Law- 
rence Sapadin is the new advisor on in- 
dependents. Applications are available from 
Joanne Koch at The Film Society of Lincoln 
Center, 140 West 65th St., NY NY 10023; (212) 
877-1800, ext. 489. 16mm and 35mm films ac- 
cepted; must be US premiere. Deadline for 
features: July 15. The 22nd Festival will unspool 
Sept. 28-Oct. 14, 1984. — KHM 



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In Brief 



This month 's festivals have been compiled by 
Deborah Erickson and Wendy Udell with the 
help of the FIVF files. Listings do not con- 
stitute an endorsement, and since some 
details change faster than we do, we recom- 
mend that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve our 
reliability. 

Domestic 

• BUMBERSHOOT INVITATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, August 31 -September 3, is an appropri- 
ately named event: "Bumbershoot" means umbrella, 
& festival takes place during Northwest's infamous 
rainy season. Residents of WA, OR, ID, AK & British 
Columbia invited to send any 16mm or 35mm film, to 
be screened as part of the Seattle Arts Festival. Festival 
is popular, & well-publicized in Seattle Times. Em- 
phasis is on art & experimental work. Selected film- 
makers receive rental fee of $3 . 50 per minute. No entry 
fee; filmmakers pay return postage. Deadline: August 
6. Contact: Chris Curtis, BFF, 2414 Second Ave., 
Seattle W A 98121; (206) 632-0243. 

• COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, November 2 & 3, now in its 32nd year, is a well- 
established, well-run event. Hefty entry fees ($65 to 
$200) guarantee each filmmaker at least an honorable 
mention & an impressive-looking plaque, but the 
abundance of these non-competitive mentions (almost 
400 were given out last year) makes them meaningless 
beyond how they look on your wall. All submissions 
are judged in 1 of 9 categories: art & culture, business 
& industry, education, health & medicine, religion & 
ethics, social studies, travel (US & foreign, videotapes, 
promotional materials for films). 16mm films & TV 
spot announcements, Vt " videotapes & promotional 
material for films eligible. No 35mm entires. Deadline: 
July 15. Contact: Patty Cary, Film Council of Greater 
Columbus, PO Box 2335, Columbus OH 43216; (614) 
228-5613. 

• EXPOSE YOURSELF FILM FESTIVAL, Sept- 
ember. Held in a popular DC theater: an opportunity 
for audience exposure. The shorter the work, the bet- 
ter its chance of being shown, as films are packaged 
for a standard 2-hr. time slot. 4 different audiences 
view the package of films: winners are determined by 
"human applause meters." 1st prize: $50; 2nd & 3rd: 
$25 each. Entry restricted to MD, VA & DC residents. 
16mm only; 25 mins. max. No entry fee. Deadline: 
August. Contact: Jeffrey Hyde, Biograph Theatre 
Group, 2819 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007; (202) 
338-0707. 

• INTERNATIONAL SKI FILM FESTIVAL, Sept- 
ember 24-28. The thrill of victory, the agony of 
defeat — sponsored by Salem Lights. 16 & 35mm films 
judged in 4 categories: Resort & Travel, Racing & 
Competition, Instruction & Technique, Special Skiing. 
New category: Videotape. Attendance by invitation 
only; competitors mostly ski industry-commissioned 
media. 1983 Silver Ski award for best film went to Ski 
Espace by Thierry Goor of Pro Video, Belgium. This 
1 lth fest should reflect lots of Winter Olympics action. 
Current productions under 60 min. accepted; no 
works publicly screened prior to fest. Entry fee: $125 
per category. Deadline: September 15. Contact: Don- 
na Cooper, Jerry Simon Associates, 819 Madison 
Ave., NY NY 10021; (212) 570-1950. 

JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



• NORTHWEST FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL,^ 
August 10-19, is sponsored by the Northwest Film$ 
Study Center of the Portland Art Association, t 
Residents of OR, WA, AK, ID, MT& British Colum- >. 
bia invited to send work in film, video or multi-image. | 
Prizes average $150 in cash or local lab credit, totaling g 
$1500. Most entries are shorts averaging 7 minutes, c 
Entries are divided in 8-10 groups for presentation to^ 
2500 viewers over 10 days. There are no subjects 
categories. Winners are chosen on the basis of 
"originality, entertainment value, visual appeal, etc." 
Last year's judge was Melinda Ward of the Walker 
Arts Center in Minneapolis; 1982 judge was J. Hober- 
man, Village Voice film critic. Winning works go on 
touring program of media art centers, film societies & 
colleges; winners get 60% of modest rental fees for the 
tour's 20-24 showings. No entry fee. Deadline: July 
15. Judging: July 15-31 . Contact: Bill Foster or Chuck 
Bischoff, NW Film Study Center, Portland Art 
Association, 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland OR 97205; 
(503)221-1156. 

• SAN MA TEO COUNTR Y FAIR FAIR WORLD 
FESTIVAL, July 20-29, screens films & videotapes as 
part of a larger multi-arts festival. No "professionally- 
funded" entries accepted. No classifications for film; 4 
video categories: documentary, public affairs, in- 
dustrial & entertainment/art. Art fair attendance is 
said to be near 200,000. 16mm, S-8 and % " eligible. 
Cash, trophies & local lab credit awarded. Entry fee: 
under $10. Deadline: July 8. Contact: Lois Kelley, San 
Mateo County Fair, PO Box 1027, San Mateo CA 
94403; (415) 574-FAIR. 

mTELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL, August 
30-September 3. Almost everyone agrees that 
Telluride is very important. More theater owners and 
distributors are attending, & for an event that doesn't 
call itself a market, there is quite a lot of informal 
business reportedly taking place. American indie 
cinema was the focus of special programming last 
year; the fest hosted the American premieres of El 
Norte (Greg Nava), SL-1 (Diane Orr & Larry 
Roberts), Signal 7 (Rob Nilsson), Testament (Lynn 
Littman), Last Night at the Alamo (Eagle Pennell), 
Seeing Red (Julia Reichert & James Klein), In Heaven 
There Is No Beer? (Les Blank) & Remains To Be Seen 
(Jane Aaron). In addition, Irwin Young, president of 
Du Art Labs, was honored for his financial & moral 
support of this new American cinema. Young pointed 
out that the festival has served as an invaluable launch- 
ing pad for many films. Although the press agrees not 
to review specific films, which allows them to shown 
later at the New York Film Festival (a route travelled 
last year by Seeing Red, Last Night at the Alamo & 
Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia), there is apparently a 
great deal of "word of mouth" within the industry 
which can make or break a film. While Telluride has 
been growing in both size & prestige over the years, it 
may finally have reached the breaking point in terms 
of its idyllic but perhaps too-small location. Festival 
passes at $190 sell out well before the event, but film- 
makers with films in the fest have complained that 
they were not given tickets to all the shows. A hierar- 
chy is imposed in other ways as well: narrative features 
are preferred over shorts & documentaries, but this 
may be a reflection of historical audience preference, 
not an aesthetic choice of the festival administration. 
Another complaint was the poor quality of the projec- 
tion in the screening facility where the 16mm films 
were shown. Still, festival directors Bill & Stella Pence 
have built an atmosphere at Telluride where new films 
truly do get launched. Enter shorts, docs & features in 
June, July, & Aug. Contact: TFF, National Film 
Preserve, 1 19 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride CO 81345; 
(303)728^401. ■ 

JUNE 1984 




Joan Churchill and Nick Bloomfield's Chicken Ranch was 
one of the documentary features at the Deauville festival. 



Foreign 

• FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE & URBAN 
LANDSCAPE FILMS & TAPES, October 12-21, 
conducts competition for films & tapes dealing with 
both social & physical aspects of the urban landscape. 
Their broad interpretation of urban environment in- 
cludes works as diverse as documentaries on gentri- 
fication & fiction features such as Bernardo Bertoluc- 
ci's Spider's Strategem & John Schlesinger's Midnight 
Cowboy. Screenings accompanied by related seminars 
& art exhibits at the "Wool Warehouse" in Bordeaux. 
Fiction & documentary films in 16 & 35mm, & tapes in 
3 A " U-matic (PAL, SECAM or NTSC) invited: max 
length: 60 min. Entry forms available from FIVF, or 
contact: Nicole Ducourea or Annie Forgia, F.I.F. 
ARC, Centre D'Art et Communication, Entrepot 
Laine, 3 Rue Ferrere, 33000 Bordeaux, France; (56) 
44.50.13 or 44.51. 19. 

• BERLIN, February. While still 8 months away, 
festival director Moritz de Hadeln makes his first trip 
to the US in July with wife Erika (who is making selec- 
tions for the Nyon Documentary Festival). De Hadeln 
programs main competition in Berlin, & is therefore 
interested in larger budget films & prefers 35mm. Last 
year Manfred Salzgeber accompanied him to look at 
"smaller" films for information programs, & he'll 
likely be back this year. For more information, con- 
tact: Gordon Hitchens, 214 W. 85th St. #3-W, NY NY 
10024; (212) 877-6856. 

• CARTHAGE FESTIVAL OF ARAB & AFRI- 
CAN FILMS, October. The Tunisian Ministry of 
Culture sponsors this biennial fest at the northern tip 
of Africa. 25 Arabian & African countries vied for 
gold, silver & bronze Tanits (main prizes) in 1982. 
Other countries represented in sidebars & panels. 
Missing by Constantine Costa-Gavras and the ubi- 
quitous E. T. were among the US features. Fest hopes 
to operate increasingly as an int'l market. Could be 
good for American minority & 3rd World works. Fest 
provides plush accommodations. Contact: Director, 
Carthage Int'l Film Festival, Journees Cinema- 
tographiques de Carthage, BP 1029, Tunis, Tunisia. 

• DEA UVILLE FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN CIN- 
EMA, Aug. 31-Sept. 9, will combine this year's 10th 
year celebration with the 40th anniversary celebration 
of the American landing on coast of Normandy & lib- 
eration of Paris. Deauville is geared mainly toward 
Hollywood movies, which use this popular beach 
resort for glittery premieres to kick off French 



theatrical runs. Fest is open to independents, however; 
last year's selection included City News (David 
Fishelson and Zoe Zinman), Mission Hill (Bob Jones), 
Vortex (Scott & Beth B), & documentary features 
Chicken Ranch (Joan Churchill & Nick Broomfield), 
Don't Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker) & Say Amen, 
Somebody (George T. Nierenberg). Nierenberg agreed 
with Deauville participants from previous years that 
intimate atmosphere facilitates meeting industry in- 
siders, but unless your film is sub-titled in French, few 
French will see it. He also added that 16mm projection 
facilities are second-rate. Features receive more atten- 
tion than documentaries, & all independents are pitted 
against big-budget organizations complete with 
celebrities & press agents, which makes getting press 
attention a challenge. Fiction & documentary features 
are accepted in 16 & 35mm; selections made through- 
out July & August by Ruda Dauphin, who can be con- 
tacted at 401 E. 80th St., #28-H, NY NY 10021; (212) 
737-5040. In France contact: Lionel Couchan or Mar- 
tine Jouando, Promo 2000, 33 ave MacMahon, 75017 
Paris, France. 

• FIGUEIRA DA FOZ, September, is a major forum 
for new art cinema from around the world; people 
from Lisbon flock to this charming seaside resort town 
to see films & meet filmmakers. James Klein (Seeing 
Red) who attended the fest in 1983 with Julia Reichert 
for a retrospective of their films, reports fest is one of 
the best for meeting filmmakers & viewing a body of 
good progressive films. But lurking behind the fest's 
good intentions is an underfunded festival administra- 
tion that has been drawing the same complaints from 
American filmmakers for years: confusion about 
changed screening slots, no reimbursements for travel 
& shipment as promised, & delayed print returns & 
correspondence. However, same filmmakers agree 
that they had a great time. Fest's catalog is a massive 
review of what's new in cinema with pages allocated to 
each of about 100 films and their makers. Although 
not a commercially important event, there are often 
scouts from other festivals. Festival director Jose 
Vieira Marques is seeking only features over 50-60 
min. this year; although program is overwhelmingly 
fiction, documentaries are accorded equal billing. See- 
ing Red won last year's Silver Plaque; other American 
films in 1983 included In the King of Prussia (Emile de 
Antonio), Dan's Motel (Jerry Barrish), 48 Hours 
(Walter Hill) & Smithereens (Susan Seidelman). Mar- 
ques scouts festivals such as Rotterdam, Berlin & 
Mannheim to make selections & accepts entries 
through Sept., although they are preferred by July 31 . 
It is recommended that, if chosen, you attend festival 
with your film so you can hand-carry it; since not all 
trips can be paid on the festival's meager budget, you 
should get your ticket in advance if that's the only way 
you can afford to attend. Contact: J.V. Marques, 
Festival Int'l de Cinema, Figueira da Foz, Apartado 
5407, 1700 Lisbon Codex, Portugal. 

• GUILDE EUROPEENE DU RAID is a French or- 
ganization which promotes the spirit of adventure in 
youth through a variety of programs including 4 an- 
nual film festivals. Approaching soon are the Sport 
Int'l Film Fest in Montpellier (Sept. 27-Oct. 1) and 
Int'l Film Fest About the Sea in Dinard (Aug. 27-Sept. 
2). The First Int'l Hang Gliding Competition at Pico 
(Francis Freedland) and There Was Always Sun Shin- 
ing Someplace (Craig Davidson) have already been in- 
vited to Montpellier, and The Navigators (San ford H. 
Low) has been invited to Dinard. They are still looking 
for more films. Their other festivals cover themes in- 
cluding skiing, mountain-climbing and general "real- 
life adventure." Contact: Michel Auffray or Sylvie 
Barbe, Guilde Europeene du Raid, 1 1 rue de Vau- 
girard, 75006 Paris, France; (1) 326.97.52. 

26 



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1935 Champions of the Negro National Baseball League from There Was Always Sunshine by Craig Davidson. 



• MARSEILLES INTERNATIONAL COMEDY 
FILM FESTIVAL, October (tentative). This com- 
petitive festival debuted last year, with each par- 
ticipating country represented by 1 film. Jury mem- 
bers included novelist Jean-Francois Josselin, actress 
Eva Darlan, & sculptor Cesar (designer of the French 
Academy Award figurine). The American entry was 
David Irving's Goodbye, Cruel World. Grand prize 
went to a Polish film, Vabank. Contact: Festival Inter- 
national du Film Comique, Office Regional de la 
Culture, 50 Rue de Breteuil, 13006 Marseilles, France. 

• MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL, Aug- 
ust 16-27. Except for Liquid Sky by Slava Tsucker- 
man, which won a Special Jury Prize in 1982, no 
American films have been admitted to the feature 
competition in this fest for the last 3 years. Even out- 
of-competition US entries are difficult to find, & most 
hail from Hollywood. The Festival du Nouveau Cine- 
ma in Montreal, held later in the year, is smaller, but 
much more receptive to independent work. On the 
other hand, Montreal World is a large, commercial 
festival which attracts film professionals from all over 
the world. There is reportedly a good deal of business 
activity; a special market section was added a couple 
of years ago. But even commercial aspirations might 
be better served in Canada by the Toronto Festival 
(Sept. 6-16), which is also far more receptive to 
American independent work than Montreal World. 
Montreal also includes a shorts competition. Deadline 
for entry: July 15. Contact: Serge Losique, Director, 
World Film Festival, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. 
West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8; (514) 
87SM057/7285; telex: 05-25472 Wofilmfest. 

• PRIX ITALIA FESTIVAL, September. Establish- 
ed in 1948, open only to radio & television organiza- 
tions already members of Prix Italia. Fest claimed 52 
orgs, representing 36 countries in 1982. No preselec- 
tion of tapes, which must be submitted through a 
member organization. Format accepted is VTR 2" 
(PAL, SECAM, NTSC). Entry fee: approx. 1,500 
Swiss francs. Deadline: August. Contact: Dr. Alvise 
Zorz, Secretary General, c/o Radiotelevisione Italia, 
Viale Mazzine 14, 00195 Rome, Italy; 06-3686. 

• SITGES INT'L FANTASY & HORROR FILM 
FESTIVAL, October. 17th scare-fest in this chic 
coastal town just south of Barcelona presents 35mm 



films spoken or dubbed in French or Spanish. 1983's 
$120,000 budget provided by Catalan provincial au- 
thority, which appears to be gung-ho on cultural 
events. Last year's US reps included House on Sorori- 
ty Row by Mark Rosman and The Coming by Bert I. 
Gordon. Medals awarded. No fee; fest pays return 
postage. Deadline: August. Contact: Joan Luis Goas, 
Sitges Foto Film, Calle San Isidro 12, Post Box 93, 
Sitges, Spain; 93-894-1306. 

• INT'L FESTIVAL OF SPORTS & TOURISTS 
FILMS, KRANJ, YUGOSLAVIA, October. Cate- 
gories: Documentary, Animation, Educational (all 
max. 60 mins.) & Features, max. 120 mins. Films ac- 
cepted in 16, 35 & 70mm; complete script must be 
available. International jury awards 3 best. Deadline: 
August 15. Contact: Interfilm Festival, Zrinkjskega 9, 
61000 Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. 

• TAORMINA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 
21-31. 30th annual event in this Sicilian resort town; 
2nd year for popular American Film Week. US films 
screened last year included War Games, Octopussy, 48 
Hours & Angelo, My Love. Final-night gala in Greco- 
Roman amphitheater for awards presentation. Gold, 
silver & bronze Charybdis for best films, 3 
Polyphemus Masks for best performances. Deadline: 
ASAP. Contact: Festivale delle Nazione Taormina, 
Via Calabria, Isol. 301 -BIS, Ente Provinciale del 
Turismo, Messine, Italy, OR: Director Guglielmo 
Biraghi, Via P.S. Mancini #12, Roma, Italy. 

• VANCOUVER INT'L FILM FESTIVAL FOR 
CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE, October (tenta- 
tive). Fest founder & director Bahman Farmanara says 
event will take place this year despite heavy financial 
losses since 1982 inception. (Farmanara worked close- 
ly with the Tehran kidfest in his homeland before 
emigrating to Canada in 1979.) The fest has suffered 
under Canadian educational cutbacks— no kiddie 
field trips means empty theaters for weekday after- 
noon screenings, while evening showings have proved 
past bedtime or inconvenient for parents. Market 
aspect may induce indies— Disney cable TV has 
bought product here. Contact: Bahman Farmanara, 
340 Brookbank Ave., North Vancouver BC, V7J2C1; 
(604) 980-7933. 

• VEVEY INT'L COMEDY FESTIVAL, August, is 
held in honor of Charlie Chaplin, who lived in this 

JUNE 1984 



THE INDEPENDENT 



area of Switzerland for nearly 20 years. Now in its 4th 
year, festival seeks 10 humorous or ironic films for 
competition from a minimum of 7 countries — this 
leaves only 3 possible places for US entries. Unfor- 
tunately, all entries must be sub-titled in French. 
However, Festival director Iris Brose expresses interest 
in independents, & is looking for funds to sponsor 
some projects. Competition for shorts (1-17 mins.) 
holds better possibilities for indies. Kodak-sponsored 
shorts prize of $1000 in 16mm stock & processing is 
more practical than the festival's grand prize, the 
Golden Cane. Last year first prize went to Fred 
Schepisi for his comical cowboy adventure, Bar- 
barosa; Bob Rogers took the shorts prize with Ballet 
Robotique (7 min., 16mm, color). The fest would like 
to remind filmmakers everywhere that it is still quite 
young, & may soon be able to give independents a bet- 
ter chance. Watch this column for updates. Deadline: 
July 1. Contact: Festival du Film, Place de la Gare 5, 
CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland; (021) 518282; Telex 
451143. 

• INT'L YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL, October 6-14, 
promotes films concerning lives & problems of young 
people & works by young filmmakers. The fest's 4 
non-competitive sections are: youth themes, first pro- 
ductions, retrospective of first productions, & open 
section wherein young filmmakers show & discuss 



New Humanities Deadline: 
JULY 30 

The next deadline for NEH Media Programs is 
July 30. Although the NEH is currently 
stressing the "Masterworks " Program, NEH 
officer Don Gibson stresses that other projects 
are welcome, and that the NEH has "no 
definite kind of work in mind. " The 
Masterworks concept, Gibson said, encom- 
passes "important work in any area of the 
humanities. It is incumbent upon the applicant 
to demonstrate its significance. " Contact: 
NEH Media Programs 
Mall Stop 403 
806 ISthSt.NW 
Washington DC 20506 
(202) 724-0297 



their non-commercial films. Festival covers all ex- 
penses for those admitted to first 3 sections, & pro- 
vides accommodations & restaurant service for open 
section participants. Entrants pay shipment to Turin, 
fest pays return 15 days after closing. Deadline: 
August 15. Contact: Festivale Internazionale Cinema 
Giovani, Attn: Gianni Vattimo, en de Provincale del 
Turismo, Via Roma 222, Turin, Italy. ■ 




The Independent's Lexicon 

Eric Breitbart 



Film and videomakers are primarily con- 
cerned with images. Words, however, are still 
needed for such mundane tasks as com- 
municating with friends, family and co- 
workers, as well as for writing grant pro- 
posals. Like other crafts, film and video has 
its own technical jargon — the verbal short- 
hand that excludes outsiders — a supply of 
words and phrases with distinct meanings for 
those "in the know." For what I hope will be 
an ongoing column in The Independent, I'll 
define some terms all independents should be 
familiar with. This list is not complete; addi- 
tional and regional variants are welcomed. 

advisor A(n) (un)necessary appendage for 
humanities grant proposals. 

answer print The copy of a film that asks all 
the questions. 

feinschmecker (Yiddishism) Perfectionist. 
Became obsolete in the mid- 1 970' s. 

independent An individual removed from 
money and power, but dependent on those 
who have it. 

window An opening on to a market. Often, 
though, something that closes on your neck 
when you get your head through it. 

blue sky Unlimited opportunity. Or: what 
you see through a window before it slams 
shut. 

proposals document that gets you what you 
want by telling people what they want to 
hear. 



zoom d'ennui A change of focal length for 
no reason other than camera operator bore- 
dom. 

piece of cake An easy job with no problems. 
Or: just the opposite. 

fix it in the mix (Producerese) Translation: I 
don't want to deal with this. Let the editor 
worry about it. 

check is in the mail (Producerese) Transla- 
tion: Don't bother me. I'll pay when I feel 
like it. 

/ know how to look at rushes (Producerese) 
Translation: I've never worked on a film 
before, but I'll be damned if I'll let you know 
it. 

verbal contract An agreement as valuable as 
the paper it's written on. 

broadcast quality What your work isn't 
when you go to sell it to television. 

dub A video copy, as in "rub-a-dub-dub." 

production value (Producerese) Translation: 
We're only paying you $30,000 to do this, 
but we want everyone to think we paid you 
$100,000. 

What's this in reference to? (Telephone-ism 
of the 1980s) Answers to this question should 
probably be the subject of a separate col- 
umn. For suggestions, see Rube Goldberg's 
"Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. " ■ 

Eric Breitbart is an independent producer 
and a former AIVF board member. 




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JUNE 1984 



.J 
27 



THE INDEPENDENT 



In & Out of Production 



Mary Guzzy 

Summer 1984 is approaching and — like 
you — we're gearing up for the Summer 
Olympics and those zany, fun-filled political 
conventions. Always on the job, indepen- 
dent media producers continue to present 
fresh perspectives on serious issues often 
obscured by the elaborate campaign pro- 
mises and other political shenanigans that 
have come to be predictable in an election 
year. 



TOPICAL TAKES 

Examining the conflict in Central America 
through the eyes of North Americans who 
are living in Nicaragua is the focus of Wait- 
ing for the Invasion: U.S. Citizens in 
Nicaragua. Produced by Dee Dee Halleck 
and directed by Karen Ranucci, the 
27-minute tape reveals many complex sides 
of the American civilian presence in Nica- 
ragua by zeroing in on a diverse selection of 
people, from the US Ambassador to the 
regional director of a large US corporation to 
three Americans who work directly for the 
Sandinista government. Waiting for the In- 
vasion was aired in March on public televi- 
sion's "Presente" series. It was shot by Skip 
Blumberg; other members of the project in- 
cluded Joan Braderman, Joel Kovel and Ed- 
die Becker of Public Interest Video Network. 

Recently, Halleck, Bob Summers and 
Penee Bender were awarded a New York 
Council on the Humanities grant to begin 
research on an archival film tentatively titled 
Peliculas, which will explore the role of the 
US in Central America and the Caribbean 
from 1900 to 1940. Initially, the project will 
produce an annotated filmography to be 
made available to researchers and film- 
makers. 

The filmmakers are currently seeking film 
footage that was shot in or concerns Latin 
America in that 40-year period. Anyone who 
can provide such footage or information 
leading to it can contact the Latin American 
Archives Project, 161 West 91 St., NY NY 
10024. 

Public Media Incorporated of New York 
has released Bill Jersey's In Our Defense, a 
26-minute color documentary which ex- 
amines the contradiction inherent in 
America's quest for security through massive 
stockpiling of nuclear weapons while allow- 
ing rising inflation and unemployment to 
threaten its citizens at home. Using the words 
of major US military, business and labor 
leaders, In Our Defense is an indictment of 
the war economy and a call for a re-emphasis 
on human life. The film was produced for 
the Foundation for the Arts of Peace and 
won a Silver Award at the Houston Film 
Festival and Honorable Mention at the 
Global Village Documentary Festival. 

From the Public Interest Video Network 
of Washington, DC come two new releases. 
28 



New Voices, produced by Arlen Slobodow, 
is a 20-minute viodeotape about how non- 
profit groups are learning to utilize emerging 
technologies to reach the public and compete 
in the "marketplace of ideas." Aimed at 
directors of organizations which have not yet 
gained effective access to that marketplace 
and at general audiences, New Voices il- 
lustrates TV's ever-increasing clout in shap- 
ing our views and perceptions. 

On the lighter side, PIVN has also released 
La Cage Aux Public Interest Follies, a satire 
on the public interest community and its con- 
stant adversary, the government. La Cage 
was produced by Eddie Becker. 

Chris Spotted Eagle sends word from 
Minneapolis that his half-hour documen- 
tary, Our Sacred Land, is in postproduction 
and will tentatively be aired August 5 on 
WNET-13 New York. The film is a study of 
the Black Hills (Paha Sapa) and Bear Butte 
(Mato Paha) from the point of view of the 
Cheyenne and Sioux peoples, who consider 
these places sacred. Our Sacred Land il- 
lustrates how tourism, industry and min- 
ing — aspects of the dominant Western 
culture — threaten the existence of these sites. 

Spotted Eagle's other recent work, The 
Great Spirit Within the Hole, was screened in 
April at INPUT '84 in Charleston SC, and 
has been nominated for an Emmy Award in 
the category of Outstanding Informational 
Special. The one-hour documentary focuses 
on spiritual survival of American Indians in 
US prisons. Great Spirit Within the Hole 
will also be screened on WNET this fall as 
part of the Friday night series, "Native 
Americans." 

Adding a historical perspective, producers 
Jerry Lombardi, Jeremy Brecher and Jan 
Stackhouse of the Brass Workers History 
Project have completed postproduction on a 



video documentary focusing on the copper 
and brass industry in the Connecticut in- 
dustrial river valley. Brass Valley traces three 
generations of workers, examining their rela- 
tionship with plant owners from World War 
I to the 1980s. The piece raises points about 
the effectiveness of worker organizations in 
various political and economic climates. 
Brass Valley is 86 minutes long and available 
in all video formats and in a series form. 
Temple Press has published the Project's 
300-page illustrated book of the same title. 
The Brass Workers History Project was 
funded by the National Endowment for the 
Humanities, the Connecticut Humanities 
Council, the United Auto Workers and the 
Haymarket People's Fund. 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW DEPT. 

AIVF members who recall the boundless 
wit and energy of past AIVF program coor- 
dinator John Greyson will be interested to 
know that Greyson, Mary Anne Yanulis and 
Eric Shultz have completed and released a 
35-minute color video documentary, Man- 
zana Por Manzana: Defending Reconstruc- 
tion in Nicaragua. During the summer of 
1983, Greyson and Yanulis lived at a Nic- 
araguan school and interviewed farmers, 
local representatives from mass organiza- 
tions and organizers of the reconstruction 
movement. What emerges in classic docu- 
mentary style is a picture of the Nicaraguan 
people in solidarity with the Sandinista 
government, prepared to defend their free- 
dom against the US-backed contras. 

Greyson reports that he and Yanulis spent 
the first six weeks of their stay in Nicaragua 
talking with community members before 
they began shooting. They found that people 
were eager for the opportunity to tell their 
story to North Americans. Nicaraguans do